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2014 Draft: How does UDFA Spencer Hadley fit in with the Saints?

Now that Hadley is going to New Orleans, what are his chances with the Saints?

Spencer Hadley records a tackle against Washington State
Spencer Hadley records a tackle against Washington State

With the celebration lasting only a day or so, the work begins for Spencer Hadley.  Over the coming days and weeks, Hadley will be introduced to his new team and the coaches that will dissect him as he tries to make the Saints final roster.  While Hadley has the skill set to make an impact on the team, missing seven games during his senior year may have impacted his draft stock.  In the long run it won't matter, if he produces he can follow in the footsteps of other UDFA that have paved the way before him.  So what is the outlook for Hadley and the Saints? Let's break it down a bit.

The Roster:

Since Hadley has the tools to play any linebacker position, we will take a look at both inside and outside linebacker positions.  His versatility may give him an edge if he can excel at one or both positions.  Last year the Saints held 11 roster spots and so based on this information, we will use the same number.  At this point the Saints list 10 linebackers on their roster along with drafting two and signing four to UDFA contracts.  If others are not added, this gives 16 players a chance at 11 roster spots.  Let's take a look at the current roster.

Inside Linebacker:

David Hawethorne (7 years)

Ramon Humber (6 years)

Curtis Lofton (7 years)

Kevin Reddick (2 years)

Shawn Jackson (UDFA)

Cqulin Hubert (UDFA)

Khairi Fortt (4th Round Pick)


Outside Linebacker:

Victor Butler (5 years)

Keyunta Dawson (7 years)

Junior Galette (5 years)

Parys Haralson (9 years)

Rufus Johnson Jr. (1 year)

Kyle Knox (1 year)

Spencer Hadley (UDFA)

Trashaun Nixon (UDFA)

Ronald Powell (5th Round Pick)

The Outlook:

With the need of quality linebackers for the Saints front seven, all the linebackers will be looked at and evaluated to see if, and where, they fit in the system.  Last year Dawson, Lofton, and Galette were tabbed as starters, so we will give them the benefit of the doubt and keep their spots safe.  The rest of the spots appear to be open for competition.  This is good news for Hadley as he will need to pick things up quickly in order to make an impression on the coaches.  Because he is an older rookie, he will need to hit the ground running so that coaches are willing to take a chance on him.

With Hadley's physical style and aggressive nature, he could make an immediate impression on the coaches.  It may be that he will need to work his way through the special teams before finding himself in the running for a back up position on the defense.  Based on his previous play, he will try to be the first one downfield to make the special teams tackle.  He will lay himself out to make the play, and isn't scared of giving up his body in the process.

Being an older rookie, his age and maturity may help with any off the field concerns.  With less off field concerns on his plate, he will have the chance to focus on his on field play and how to improve the weaknesses that the coaches see.  The Coaches will also have less worry as they try to see which personalities will conflict and with Hadley's LDS mission experience, he has learned to live with numerous personality differences.

When all this is taken into account, Hadley has a good chance of making the roster.  Talent will prevail in the NFL so he will need to work hard on earning his spot and developing his skills.  He may never be the starter he would like to be, but he can develop into a quality backup that can earn time on the field.