The 2018 NFL Draft has come and gone for the New Orleans Saints and now the team's focus quickly turns to signing undrafted college free agents, otherwise known as UDFA's.
Saints head coach Sean Payton stated in a post-draft press conference yesterday evening that the club's undrafted free agent class wouldn't be nearly as big as it usually is.
That said, the Saints have always had success in finding rare "hidden gems" in the undrafted free agency signing period over the past several seasons.
This year they hope to find another in their 2018 class —and in case you missed it earlier, we began our series of detailed profiles on each one of the 10 individual members of the 2018 Saints UDFA class this morning, starting with Western Kentucky tight end Deon Yelder (Click HERE to read)
But while you're waiting for us to write the rest of the individual undrafted Saints rookie free agent profiles, here's a quick look at a few stats for each of the new players; along with a couple of highlights that you can expect to see coming up in the next few days ahead, here at the Saints News Network website:
Jeromy Irwin, Offensive Tackle, Colorado
University of Colorado offensive tackle Jeromy Irwin is strong but looks to lack the necessary athleticism to get him on the Final 53-man roster of a NFL team. He is a versatile lineman, but with limitations.
His best traits are that coaches consider him to be a good leader and a young man of high-character, and he served as team captain for two years for the Buffaloes. A strong Practice Squad candidate.
Cam Serigne, Tight End, Wake Forest (Rookie Camp Invitee)
Serigne (pronounced SAIR-in-yay) was named 1st Team All-ACC and was a "go-to target" for the Demon Deacons last season. After snatching a career-high eight touchdown receptions as a senior, the 6-3, 240-pounder was considered one of this year's biggest "sleeper" prospects and was projected to quickly become a favorite of whichever NFL quarterback gets the pleasure of adding him to his huddle in 2018.
Serigne will remind Saints fans of former tight end Billy Miller, who played for the team from 2006-2008. A 5th-year / redshirt senior, Serigne played an important starting role for four years and shattered Wake Forest’s record books.
He broke the school record for tight end receptions and touchdowns after just his first two seasons at the school. In his entire career at Wake Forest, Serigne hauled in 174 receptions for 2,075 yards and 21 TD's.
Jesse Ertz, Quarterback, Kansas State (Rookie Camp Invitee)
Ertz finished his abbreviated career with 207 pass completing on 364 attempts for the Wildcats, a 56.8 completion percentage. He threw for 2,685 yards, an average of 149.1 yards per game, with 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also rushed for 1,399 yards on 256 carries, an average of 5.4 yards per carry and 60.8 yards per game. He scored 15 touchdowns, the longest 54 yards, and had four 100-yard rushing games.
AJ Hantak, Long Snapper, Eastern Illinois
The Saints already have a very good long snapper with Zach Wood but bringing in Hantak will give Wood some competition, to ensure that he isn't practically just given the job.
Keith Kirkwood, Wide Receiver, Temple University
Temple Owls wide receiver Keith Kirkwood was 2nd on the Temple offense in both catches (45 receptions) and yards (673 ) as a senior in 2017, and led the team in receiving touchdowns (7).
He is 6-foot-3, 220 pounds and is the exact height, weight, and speed prospect "type" that the Saints offense seems to be gravitating towards to recently; while building what seems to be a "bigger is better" receiver philosophy. Kirkwood could surprise in Camp, and stands a decent chance to land a spot on the Practice Squad.
Taylor Stallworth, Defensive Tackle, South Carolina
The Saints didn't address defensive tackle in the draft, but they did sign undrafted free agent Taylor Stallworth from the University of South Carolina; who tallied 30 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss for the middle of the Gamecocks defensive line.
Brandon Silvers, Quarterback, Troy University
Silvers was a 2017 All-Sun Belt Conference Honorable Mention selection as a senior, completing 62.9% of his passes for 2,985 yards with 13 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Among quarterbacks with at least 400 passing attempts nationally, Silvers ranked 3rd last year with an interception just once every 68.7 pass attempts. He ranks third in Sun Belt history in career completions (945), fourth in passing yards (10,379) and fifth in touchdowns (67).
Nate Wozniak, Tight End, Minnesota
SB Nation's The Daily Gopher says that Wozniak completed his four year career for the Gophers last Fall as an anchor on the end of the Minnesota offensive line. Wozniak was a dependable blocker for the Gophers with the occasional flash of pass catching ability. In 34 games for the Gophers over four seasons, Wozi caught 28 passes for 314 yards, but never once got into the end zone.
Colton Jumper, Linebacker, Tennesse
Likely to become popular with Saints fans just because he has a rather unique name that they will have a good time talking about, Jumper actually had a very impressive 14 tackles-for-loss and 4.5 sacks as a senior for the Volunteers; and is a former college teammate of running back Alvin Kamara.
Jumper came to the Vols as a 2-star recruit from Chattanooga, Tenn., and became one of the most versatile linebackers on the team. The 6-foot-2, 229-pound linebacker played all three linebacker positions over the years, a trait that is obviously coveted by Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. Probably a long-shot to make the 53-man roster, but could sneak his way onto the team via a special teams spot.
Carl Whitley, Wide Receiver, Abilene Christian (Rookie Camp Invitee)
Whitley, a 6-foot-2, 215 pound San Antonio, Texas native, also earned an invite to Saints Rookie Camp. Whitley missed the entire 2016 season after suffering a knee injury, but bounced back in 2017 as a senior with 31 receptions for 301 yards and 5 TD's.
David Knevel, Offensive Lineman, Nebraska (Rookie Camp Invitee)
Knevel, a towering 6-foot-9 offensive lineman from Brantford, Ontorio in Canada, will suit up for both the Saints and Oakland Raiders in an attempt to earn an NFL roster spot.
J.T. Barrett, Quarterback, Ohio State
The 6-foot-1, 224-pound Barrett went undrafted this year, and despite initial reports after the draft that had said he would try out for the Colts, he was signed by the Saints to a 3-year deal (not all that surprising, given their notable "connection" to the Ohio State Football program that now will have 6 former Buckeyes on the team roster).
In three-plus seasons as a starter, Barrett threw for 9,434 yards and had 104 touchdowns compared to 30 interceptions. He also ran for 3,263 yards and 43 touchdowns. With both current back-up QB's Taysom Hill and Tom Savage "no sure thing" behind Drew Brees, Barrett could have a legitimate shot at pushing for a spot on the team.
Daronte Bouldin, Offensive Lineman, Ole Miss
A 6-foot-5, 318 pound native of Canton, Miss., Bouldin made three starts and appeared in eight games at right guard last year before sustaining a season-ending broken foot. A possible Practice Squad candidate.
Linden Stephens, Cornerback, Cincinnati
University of Cincinnati cornerback Linden Stephens broke out this past season intercepting one ball, breaking up nine balls and totaling 51 tackles.
Linden is a considered a bit of a project player but with a lot of upside. He could fall out of favor quickly if he can't "flash" enough during Training Camp to turn any heads (like that of defensive backs coach Aaron Glenn, who was on hand to watch Stephens at Cincinnati's Pro Day last month).
As the adage goes: you can never have "too many" cornerbacks. Stephens has a very good chance to end up on the Practice Squad.
Cory Helms, Offensive Guard, Wake Forest
Helms was a Top 10 recruit coming out of high school, but never lived up to the 'hype' at Wake Forest. He is a good prospect for the Saints, but making the final roster on their deep offensive line isn't in his favor. Another possible Practice Squad candidate.
Henry Mondeaux, Defensive Tackle, Oregon
Last but not least: Mondeaux is a New Orleans native and attended Jesuit High School; and was a rotational D-Lineman for the Ducks while racking up 9 sacks in the past three seasons out in the Pacific Northwest.
The 6-foot-5, 290 pound Mondeaux played inside and out on the defensive line in three different defenses over the course of his 4-year career, so versatility and durability are positives. He might need to bulk up even more however, to play along the interior line (which is presumably how the Saints would use him) in the NFL.