The New Orleans Saints have brought in several free agents to the linebacker position this off-season, along with taking a look at several draft prospects at the position as well — like former Georgia Bulldog Jordan Jenkins, who they brought in recently for a private visit.
Last year, the team drafted Washington Huskies pass rushing linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha to add some speed at the position in order to rattle opposing quarterbacks.
They may end up taking a look at another player from Kikaha’s old neck of the woods, as NFL Draft Diamonds reported that Washington linebacker Travis Feeney was just in for a visit yesterday with the Saints.
Ironically, it was Feeney who ended up taking Kikaha’s spot last year on the defense for the Huskies, after he was drafted by New Orleans.
The one main difference is that Feeney more resembles another fellow Husky in Shaq Thompson; who was drafted by the Carolina Panthers to play linebacker, even though he’s built like a safety.
In fact, both players measure out at both the same at 230 pounds; with Feeney being a bit taller than Thompson at 6’4.
But we all saw the production Thompson had for the Panthers defense, and the Saints are looking for someone who could fill that “hybrid” role at the weakside linebacker position, which Feeney could be used in.
Feeney is actually a former safety that transitioned well to linebacker at Washington, and his first year he had 76 total tackles with four tackles for a loss, four sacks and two interceptions.
He stayed consistent during his sophomore and junior years, where he racked up 116 total tackles with ten for a loss, 3.5 sacks, nine passes defended, two interceptions, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.Oct 31, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies linebacker Travis Feeney (41) knocks the ball loose from Arizona Wildcats quarterback Anu Solomon (12) during the third quarter at Husky Stadium. Arizona would recover. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
But it was when he took over following Kikaha’s departure, that Feeney found his stride as a pass rusher; and had 56 total tackles with 17.5 for a loss, eight sacks, one fumble recovery, and three forced fumbles.
During 2015 in the Pac-12, Feeney was second in forced fumbles, third in tackles for a loss, and third in sacks.
After receiving an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine he didn’t disappoint, and ranked second out of all linebackers in the 40-yard dash, with a 4.50 as well as second overall in the broad jump and cleared 10’10 (130 inches).
Fenney ended up taking the first place among the linebacking group and eighth overall of the entire combine during the vertical jump, which was 40 inches.
While at the combine, Feeney looked smooth in drills; especially where he was asked to flip his hips in coverage and was very quick — which is likely due from his days as a defensive back.Nov 7, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies linebacker Travis Feeney (41) celebrates a fumble recovery as Utah Utes running back Devontae Booker (23) lays on the ground during the second quarter at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
Everyone expected his Pro Day last week to be outstanding too, until news dropped that Feeney had undergone surgery just a few weeks prior, for a sports hernia that he was suffering through during his combine performance, where he said he was only at about “70 to 80 percent” in Indianapolis.
A shoulder injury plagued him during his senior year as well, but Feeney stated:
“I’m good. I’m ready to go. My shoulders feel good. I’ve played through things before. I always played through things. I take that as a good thing. I missed one game my whole career here. Not many people get to say that.”
The Saints likely believe him if he was brought in for a visit, so Feeney’s name will be one to watch in the upcoming weeks.
Whether or not he ends up a pick to help with the Saints defense, will be something to watch for 3 weekends from now, on 2016 NFL Draft Weekend in Chicago……..