This year's draft is going to be different and challenging in ways that other drafts have not.
Scouts weren't on location to gather information and work sources the way they typically would have been during the college season. Some players opted out and worked on their own. But perhaps the biggest challenge is that there was no scouting combine, which means there are no centralized measurements or medical checks.
New Orleans isn't one of those teams that scoff at the combine as the "underwear Olympics." The Saints feel they can learn some things during this portion of the year, but it is also important for prototyping players. Having a centralized measuring process provides a generalized standard for at least the couple of hundred prospects competing at the combine. This year, the team is either hand timing at pro days or taking the college's word for it on many of the measurements.
There is no other choice.
As we know, one of the most significant changes the Saints scouting staff made under Jeff Ireland was getting back to prototyping height, weight, speed, hand size and arm length for college prospects. New Orleans always did this under Sean Payton but strayed for a few years. Ireland helped refine the process, and it has played a part in the team's recent success in the draft.
Last year, I took a stab at cracking the code for how the team sets its prototypes through educated guesses. This year, we found out how the Saints calculate and set the standards.