Saints Select RB Daniel Lasco With Final Pick Of NFL Draft [VIDEO]
With their final pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints selected Cal Running Back Daniel Lasco 237th overall.
Many people thought the Saints would go with a guard at some point in the draft, but New Orleans passed on their final opportunity to grab a lineman and picked up a back instead. Lasco put up monstrous numbers as a junior (1,115 yards, 12 TD's), but injuries kept him out of five games as a senior. His 6'0"-209 lb frame could bulk up to take NFL damage, but he still would be more of a third-down back.
Lasco turned heads at the NFL Combine with a 40-yard dash time of 4.40, a 41.5 inch vertical leap and 23 reps on the bench. His athleticism fits the pro mold, and these two sentences from his CBS Sports draft profile describe what probably got Sean Payton's attention with their 7th Round pick:
"Good body control as a receiver, showing the ability to twist his frame to adjust to poorly thrown passes, collect the ball and accelerate in one smooth motion. Alert in pass protection and as a downfield blocker."
He can catch passes, move with the ball in space and protect Drew Brees' backside as a blocker. He's going to have to work for his reps in an already competitive backfield, but his tape shows glimpses of real playmaking ability.
You can tell his comfort in the passing game from the film. Payton and Brees love backs that can create mismatches against linebackers, and his 33 catches for 356 yards his junior season are a testament to the reliability of his hands and ability to get open.
Last year's 7th Round pick was also a running back, Marcus Murphy. Murphy earned his keep on special teams, which is a role Lasco is comfortable with as well.
With a special teams contributor like Vinnie Sunseri off the roster, Lasco could step right in and steal his reps with the right attitude.
Lasco took to Twitter before the Saints selected him, saying, "I just need the opportunity." New Orleans gave him a chance, now it's his job to prove his worth.
Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson paved their way in New Orleans as undrafted rookie free agents, so Lasco has a golden opportunity to impress the coaching staff as a drafted player.
Lasco might end up being great, but was it the right pick with so many holes on defense and a need at guard?