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SCOUT'S notes: McAllister gives Saints new look

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NFL DRAFT COVERAGE
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There has been a lot of talk regarding Ricky Williams' trade to the Dolphins, but what about the man who will be staying in New Orleans? Deuce McAllister is his name. And what effect will he play on the Saints' offense? McAllister lacks Williams' power, but gives the Saints a new dimension. They will retool their run game to fit McAllister's perimeter speed and also expect him to become more of a big-play threat. While Williams made strides in the passing game last season, McAllister is more of a natural fit as a route runner and catches the ball very well. He also has the speed to become a more dynamic option through the air because he can get downfield and make plays in the open field. In an offense that lacked speed outside of Joe Horn, McAllister should be a welcomed addition to the starting lineup. But the question that must be answered is whether he'll be durable enough to carry a heavy workload. Durability wasn't one of McAllister's strong subjects in college, which raises some curiosity heading into the season behind an offensive line that may not be as strong in the run game as perceived. On the flip side, Ricky Williams upgrades the Dolphins' offense because he brings much needed stability and consistency to the ground game. He's the strong off-tackle runner that Norv Turner needs in his scheme and also can contribute in the passing game. Outside of Lamar Smith's 2000 season, Miami hasn't had a runner who brought stability to their offense. But questions remain when looking ahead to the 2002 season. Along the offensive line, Mark Dixon and Todd Wade are the closest things to sure bets among the starting five, yet both were slowed by injuries last season. Former Jaguar Leon Searcy could bring some pop at right guard after Todd Perry's sluggish performance last season. But Searcy, 32, is coming off two injury-ravaged seasons. The bottom line ... losing out on Bears' center Olin Kreutz was a blow.

Cowboys hope Glover adds sacks

The Dallas Cowboys had one of the top defenses in the NFL last season, but didn't create many turnovers. Although they were scrappy against the run, they only had 24 sacks. With minimal results in getting to the quarterback, their secondary wasn't in a position to make many plays. Enter former Saints' defensive tackle La'Roi Glover. Glover is a very active interior presence who should create more plays for the Cowboys. He's on the small side and will get neutralized at the point of attack, which happened more often than New Orleans' coaches liked. But his strength is shooting gaps and making things happen in the opposing backfield with his quickness and motor. And that's what he'll be asked to do in Dallas. Now the onus falls on the rest of the defensive line. Glover figures to see more attention from opposing blockers than the rest of the starters. Dallas doesn't exactly have Norman Hand, Joe Johnson, and Darren Howard on their roster. Greg Ellis is a dependable guy who will make some plays, but not enough to scare teams. Ebenezer Ekuban is coming back from an injury and still hasn't shown he can be a blue-chip pass rusher despite his tools. Inside, Brandon Noble is a competent scrapper who occupies blockers, but isn't a space eater like Hand. Although Glover should be effective putting pressure on the quarterback, the Cowboys still need another playmaker up front to anchor their defensive line. But the only other move they might make defensively is adding a playmaker in the secondary. We'll see what they have in mind on draft day as they re-evaluate their defense with Glover now part of the equation.

Hayes gives Patriots another dimension

The Patriots made things happen with Troy Brown and David Patten in the passing game last season, but they were limited at times without a downfield playmaker. The addition of former Panther Donald Hayes should change things. Hayes has the ability to make big plays downfield due to his natural size and leaping ability. With this dimension added to the passing game, Brown and Patten should be even more effective underneath and could give their running game less congestion to work through because teams won't be able to put an extra guy in the box. Although Hayes lacks a great feel for the game and is limited in what he can do within a passing scheme, it shouldn't be a problem in New England due to the presence of Brown and Patten handling many tough assignments. In other moves, the Patriots added reliable depth along the defensive line with former Jet Rick Lyle. Lyle isn't very skillful, but is very tough against the run. He'll be a fine fit within their defensive philosophy. Another former Jet, safety Chris Hayes, adds a little depth within the secondary, but more importantly, will be a key contributor on special teams.

Carter address major problem for Saints

If veteran cornerback Dale Carter can stay out of harm's way and play to his ability, the New Orleans Saints should have a much better pass defense next season. Last fall, their secondary gave up several big plays in the air because they lacked speed. Carter is the matchup type they need due to his size, speed and physical skills to shut down opposing receivers. He'll join Fred Thomas in the starting lineup, but don't be surprised if another cover guy is added to upgrade their overall depth. Carter's presence should also take pressure off veteran free safety Jay Bellamy, who won't have to worry about Carter's side of the field. Also on the Scout's Radar:
  • There's no question the Green Bay Packers took a risk by adding wide receiver Terry Glenn to their offensive mix, but risks are necessary at some point when trying to obtain success. It works that way in the business world and the NFL closely resembles corporate America. There's little question that Glenn's talent upgrades their passing game and perhaps a change of scenery will mature him. Glenn is a good athlete who can make plays, which Brett Favre desperately needs. But Glenn doesn't like doing the dirty work, which is important in Green Bay's offense. Until Green Bay finds consistency elsewhere in their passing game, expect Glenn to attract a lot of attention from opposing defenses. Robert Ferguson has the speed and physical skills to make plays in the passing game, but there's concern whether he will be ready to become a key member of their offense from a mental standpoint. And tight end Bubba Franks must find more consistency. Until these guys command more attention from defenses, Glenn will find himself a popular figure with defensive coordinators around the league.
  • Jon Gruden certainly is shaking things up in Tampa Bay. It's anybody's guess what role Rob Johnson has in Tampa Bay, but there's no question Brad Johnson can't feel very secure about his future. Eventually, former starter Shaun King likely becomes the future. There's no question that King has the attributes Gruden wants in a quarterback if he remains motivated to become a leader.
  • Former Dolphin defensive end Kenny Mixon isn't the second coming of the "Purple People Eaters" as alluded in Minnesota, but he should be a solid addition that helps upgrade the Vikings' run defense. Mixon is a blue-collar defender who plays with a lot of effort against the run and is tough enough to play inside, but never developed into a productive pass rusher in Miami because he lacks the explosive closing speed most pass rushers possess. Mixon and incumbent starter Chris Hovan create a much-needed blue-collar presence up front while the Vikings hope second-year man Patrick Chukwurah emerges as a productive pass rusher.
  • Many people will be watching the Jets' secondary very closely this summer after letting three starters depart this spring. But don't be surprised if they receive more production from their secondary in 2002 because the additions of cornerback Aaron Beasley and strong safety Sam Garnes are players more comfortable with Herman Edwards' philosophy. Beasley is a physical guy who anticipates well and can make plays on the ball. He is also physical in run support and will be able to redirect receivers inside when called upon. The only question is whether Beasley can rebound after an injured-ravaged season, which rendered him ineffective in 2001. One thing can be taken for granted. Beasley will be feeling very refreshed getting away from Tom Coughlin in Jacksonville. Garnes is a young, physical presence in run support, but also has adequate speed and improved as a cover guy over the past year. He's no John Lynch, but should be a notable upgrade from Victor Green.
  • Former Packers wide receiver Corey Bradford will get every chance to develop into a consistent target for the Houston Texans. Bradford has the size and downfield ability that offensive coordinator Chris Palmer is looking for in the passing game. He made some plays in Green Bay, but was never a reliable target because he couldn't run very good routes and do the little things needed in the Packers' system. He was very raw coming out of college and lacked a command for a complicated pro passing scheme like the Packers'. But he's still young and the fresh start could allow him to make strides in Houston, where he'll be a better fit as a deep threat for the Texans.
  • Former Packer Allen Rossum should be a productive return man in Atlanta if he can stay healthy, but it will be interesting to see if he can establish himself as a nickel back. He lacks size, but is feisty and shows good quickness to fit well in Wade Phillips' scheme. It's possible he can become a decent nickel corner, but I'd feel more comfortable with Rossum as an adequate fourth corner. Right now, almost any move could give them more production next season after the nickel spot was a liability in 2001. But the Falcons should definitely keep their options open.
  • With Buffalo signing veteran tight end Dave Moore, new offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride has two veteran tight ends to work with next season. Moore is a blue-collar type veteran who will likely become their primary in-line blocker. He's been a steady blocker in Tampa Bay for several seasons. He's nothing special in the passing game, but has been productive inside the red zone. Incumbent Jay Riemersma could be cut at some point after refusing a paycut. He'll have opportunities as a pass catcher if he returns, but must rebound after a subpar season. Briefs:
  • Although the Bills have signed London Fletcher, they would like to continue adding more speed at linebacker. They have been talking with James Farrior, who would upgrade the Bills' production on the weakside.
  • The 49ers have for the most part turned the page on strong safety Lance Schulters unless his price drops and will look at cheaper veterans such as former Colt Chad Cota, who isn't much of an athlete, but is very aggressive in run support.
  • Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren would prefer to upgrade the tight end spot with a veteran and continues to explore former Raven Shannon Sharpe. Sharpe isn't very fast these days, but has the savvy to give the Seahawks balanced production in their passing game and also offer much needed leadership towards younger stars on offense such as Shaun Alexander and Koren Robinson. Brian DeLucia is a respected college and pro personnel consultant around the NFL. Formerly a consultant with Rivals.com and Pro Football Digest.com, Brian enjoys his second season with FOXSports.com providing commentary around the NFL and NFL Draft.
  • Tagged: Falcons, Bills, Bears, Cowboys, Packers, Colts, Rams, Dolphins, Vikings, Patriots, Saints, Giants, Jets, 49ers, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Panthers, Jaguars, Ravens, Olin Kreutz, Greg Ellis, Brandon Noble, Robert Ferguson, Bubba Franks, Brett Favre, Allen Rossum, London Fletcher, Kenny Mixon, Chris Hovan, Patrick Chukwurah, Norman Hand, Joe Horn, Darren Howard, Ricky Williams, James Farrior, Victor Green, Shaun King

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