Saints prototypes: Trying to determine minimum requirements and which prospects fit on offense

Jeff Ireland has a type for everything.

When the Saints assistant general manager joined the team ahead of the 2015 draft, he and the rest of the team brass worked to implement prototypes for just about everything that could get measured on a player. Doing this was important, because New Orleans had gotten away from these guidelines, and it likely played a part in having a few bad drafts. 

These guidelines are, however, just that. A player falling outside the spectrum might still get drafted, but there better be a reason for making an exception. 

"Prototypes are just what they are," coach Sean Payton said. "They keep you on schedule relative to height, weight, size, speed, measurables for the position, and yet there's exceptions all the time. 

"They keep you on schedule. You pay close attention to them and yet they're not eliminators in some cases you just understand if a guy isn't prototype, there's a letter grade that's given and you understand with his grade what's kept him from being prototype. Is it his height? Is it his weight? Is it a speed, you know, what is it? But it doesn't prohibit you from signing or drafting a player."

What a team will typically do is set a floor -- minimum requirements -- that a player has to meet in each category. To be considered a "clean" or "prototype" players have to meet those standards. 

Now that the Saints have a few years of history with Ireland leading the scouting process, a profile of what he likes in players is starting to shape. To get a better understanding of where the minimum requirements might exist, we studied his draft history and used it to set baselines. We then used those baselines to find out which players who participated in the combine meet the minimum requirements. 

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