New Orleans Saints: Top 10 Prospects

Tracy Porter (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Scout.com's Chris Steuber continues the top 10 prospects series and profiles the New Orleans Saints. In this series, an NFL prospect is classified as a player entering their third year in the NFL or under 25 years of age. Find out who the Saints top 10 prospects are entering the 2010 season.

Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
CB
5-11
186
3
23

Tracy Porter will forever be known for the route he jumped against Reggie Wayne and the 74-yard interception return that ensued late in the fourth quarter that locked up the New Orleans Saints victory in Super Bowl XLIV. While that play may end up being the highlight that defines Porter's career, his overall play during the 2009 season was a promising sight, after he played in and started just five games as a rookie before being placed on injured reserved with a dislocated wrist. This past season, Porter was slowed by a knee injury and didn't play in the first four games of the year. But, he returned and ended up starting 11 of the 12 games he played in and recorded 57 tackles and four interceptions, one of which he returned for a 72-yard touchdown. If Porter can stay healthy this season, he could earn a spot in the Pro Bowl.

Drafted by New Orleans in the 2nd Round (2008).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
FS
6-0
204
2
22

After an accomplished four-year career at Ohio State, Malcolm Jenkins was selected in the first round of the 2009 draft by the Saints. As a rookie, Jenkins played in 14 games and started six due to injuries to Jabari Greer and Porter. Despite missing two games with an ankle injury, Jenkins finished the season with 55 tackles and an interception. This offseason, the Saints disclosed that Jenkins would move to free safety and back up Darren Sharper; a move that will benefit the Saints in the future.

Drafted by New Orleans in the 1st Round (2009).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
OG
6-5
343
3
25

Since being drafted in the fifth round of the '08 draft, Carl Nicks has been a valuable member of the Saints offensive line. He's been a durable force in the trenches, playing in all 32 games and starting 29 of them at left guard. Nicks' standing as the organization’s third rated prospect is largely due to his durability and consistency as a run blocker. He and All-Pro guard Jahri Evans make up one of the NFL's most dominant guard pairings.

Drafted by New Orleans in the 5th Round (2008).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
CB
5-11
190
R
22

Blessed with tremendous skills, Patrick Robinson may have been the best cover corner in the nation over the last two years. But, as good as he was blanketing receivers, Robinson recorded just one interception during that span, after he had six interceptions as a sophomore. Even though he didn't display the ball skills of an elite corner during his junior and senior seasons at Florida State, the Saints realized the potential he has and selected him in the first round this year. Robinson is projected to be the No. 3 corner on the depth chart this season, but could eventually emerge as a starter if Greer, who has been hurt the last two seasons, is unable to stay on the field.

Drafted by New Orleans in the 1st Round (2010).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
DT
6-1
307
3
24

It's been a tough two-year stint in New Orleans for Sedrick Ellis. The former USC standout has suffered two knee injuries that have cut short his seasons in consecutive years, and there's a growing concern that he's lost some of the explosiveness that made him special. Known for his ability to penetrate and get after the quarterback during his days with the Trojans, Ellis hasn't showcased that ability with consistency in his first two years and has amassed just six sacks in 23 starts. The Saints are hoping that Ellis rebounds from his latest knee injury and is able to regain his productive form in 2010.

Drafted by New Orleans in the 1st Round (2008).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
OT
6-5
303
R
23

A player that could have been selected in the first round this year, Charles Brown fell to the second round and into the lap of the Saints with the final selection of the second frame. Brown is an outstanding athlete and started the final 26 games of his career at USC as the starting left tackle. The Saints will also use Brown at LT, but due to a hamstring injury that he suffered this offseason, he will be eased into action during training camp and probably won't see any significant playing time this year.

Drafted by New Orleans in the 2nd Round (2010).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
LB
6-0
226
3
25

Jo-Lonn Dunbar has been quite a find in New Orleans since being signed as an undrafted free agent in '08. Dunbar played his way onto the Saints roster and has been a special teams demon the last two years. He's recorded 28 special teams tackles in his career and has made five career starts. It appears that the hard work has paid off for Dunbar, as he's positioned to be the starting SAM linebacker for the Saints this year.

Signed by New Orleans as an undrafted free agent (2008).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
TE
6-6
260
R
23

A former basketball player at Miami, Jimmy Graham played just one year for the Hurricanes on the football field. He played in every game in 2009 and was used sparingly throughout the year. He made great strides in his first season and caught 17 passes for 213 yards and five touchdowns. Graham is a developmental prospect who is still learning all aspects of the game. But, his upside is incredible and he could be a situational threat and a redzone option this year.

Drafted by New Orleans in the 3rd Round (2010).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
K
5-8
196
3
24

An undrafted free agent in '08, Garrett Hartley has emerged as the Saints starting kicker, after having a controversial start to his career in New Orleans. Hartley showed promise as a rookie playing in eight games, but after he tested positive for a banned substance that offseason, Hartley was suspended for the first four games of the '09 season. After serving his suspension, he was inactive for the next seven weeks before taking over the kicking duties for the final five games and through the playoffs. Hartley has a strong leg and will have a chance to put up some huge numbers this season with the firepower that the Saints have on offense.

Signed by New Orleans as an undrafted free agent (2008).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
P
6-4
225
2
24

A fifth round pick in '09, Thomas Morstead won the punting job out of training camp and did an outstanding job in his first season with the Saints. Playing in all 16 games, Morstead averaged 43.6 yards per punt and did a nice job with his directional punting. Just as Porter will be known for his interception during Super Bowl XLIV, Morstead will be remembered for the onside kick that he generated to begin the second half. That kick was a huge momentum shift for the Saints that ultimately led to a touchdown to give them a 13 - 10 lead and the confidence to secure the Lombardi Trophy.

Drafted by New Orleans in the 5th Round (2009).


For more on the Saints, check out Saints Insider.


A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: csteuber@scout.com. You can also now follow Chris Steuber on Twitter.

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