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Rookie tackle Rick Leonard's familiarity with Saints offensive line dates back to Florida State days

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Rick Leonard had never met Zach Strief until last weekend. But he knew Strief's work well. Leonard has been watching Strief and the rest of the New Orleans Saints offensive line for the better part of two years, ever since ...

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Old 05-16-2018, 09:44 PM   #1
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Rick Leonard had never met Zach Strief until last weekend.

But he knew Strief's work well.

Leonard has been watching Strief and the rest of the New Orleans Saints offensive line for the better part of two years, ever since he decided to make the transition from defensive end to offensive tackle.

Florida State offensive line coach Rick Trickett made sure of it.

"My coach liked to put on Saints film, he liked to put on the Cowboys, the Redskins," Leonard said. "Teams that our offense kind of mimicked."



Leonard, a right tackle at Florida State, obviously kept his eyes on Strief, the veteran who retired in March after 12 seasons in New Orleans. Up until a torn ACL and MCL cut his final season short last fall, Strief was one of the best right tackles in the NFL.

"I watched the Saints offensive line a lot," Leonard said. "I knew who he was, and I knew he was a really good player."

So Leonard was excited when Strief jumped into the fray at the team's minicamp last weekend. Initially there to observe practice, Strief jumped into an impromptu role as a coaching consultant for the rookie offensive linemen.

As knowledgeable and intelligent as any offensive lineman in the NFL, Strief is the perfect resource for a rookie tackle.

"He's so willing to help," Leonard said. "It's just huge to have a guy around like that, that I can learn from and pick his brain."

Strief might be even more perfect for Leonard. A seventh-round draft pick who spent five years as the swing tackle and the extra offensive lineman in the Saints' jumbo packages, the 6-foot-7 Strief needed time to develop into an NFL starter.

Leonard, another 6-7 prospect, played defensive end at Florida State for two seasons before making the shift to the offensive line. With Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk entrenched as the starters at tackle and Andrus Peat a frequent replacement at left tackle in case of injury to Armstead, Leonard's early NFL career might look a lot like Strief's.

"Right away, I can see a jumbo role," coach Sean Payton said. "I could see him compete to be a gameday backup tackle."

Leonard's tools for the position are obvious.

Beyond his length and the athleticism necessary to play defensive end at a school like Florida State, Leonard has the right disposition, something the Saints saw on film in their evaluation.

"There’s a physicalness about him," Payton said. "We think that there is still some growth because of his lack of experience. He’s a big body, he’s physical."

Leonard knows he has a lot to learn.

Landing in New Orleans should help the curve. Under Jimbo Fisher, the Seminoles ran a pro-style offense, and although the terminology has changed, Leonard already feels at home in the plays the Saints introduced at the rookie minicamp.

"Everyone's got the same plays," Leonard said. "It's just that the terminology's a lot different."

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Old 05-18-2018, 08:19 AM   #2
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Re: Rookie tackle Rick Leonard's familiarity with Saints offensive line dates back to Florida State days

This piece is well worth listening to.

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Old 05-18-2018, 08:43 AM   #3
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Re: Rookie tackle Rick Leonard's familiarity with Saints offensive line dates back to Florida State days

Becoming a fan of his. Sounds like he is will to do anything the teams asks of him. Hard worker with a big heart, sounds like Strief
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Old 05-18-2018, 08:51 AM   #4
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Re: Rookie tackle Rick Leonard's familiarity with Saints offensive line dates back to Florida State days

Still a horrible reach in the fourth round by Payton...

In listening to some of the post draft commentary citing GMs and Personnel Men (of course, off the record) stated they were surprised at this pick in the fourth...

Believe it was a New England Sports Pod Cast (I follow Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins and yes Patriots) that reiterated that this was a WTF pick...

He'll probably turn out fine in a few years for us, but you don't need to develop a fourth rounder to play in five years; even Clapp should've been picked before him...
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Old 05-18-2018, 09:13 AM   #5
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Re: Rookie tackle Rick Leonard's familiarity with Saints offensive line dates back to Florida State days

I simply don't watch enough ACC/Seminole football to form an educated opinion on Rick. For now I'm reserving judgment.

Good luck Rick ! Training camp awaits.
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Old 05-18-2018, 10:10 AM   #6
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Re: Rookie tackle Rick Leonard's familiarity with Saints offensive line dates back to Florida State days

Originally Posted by K Major View Post
I simply don't watch enough ACC/Seminole football to form an educated opinion on Rick. For now I'm reserving judgment.

Good luck Rick ! Training camp awaits.
Leonard prepped as and played defensive end (reserve) for two years for the Seminoles...

Rick only started playing offensive lineman (right tackle) his junior year, not becoming a starter till the end of his junior year...
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Old 05-18-2018, 11:25 AM   #7
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Re: Rookie tackle Rick Leonard's familiarity with Saints offensive line dates back to Florida State days

This draft class is loaded with projects.....some more long term than others. There is something about every player we drafted that gives me hope that the coaching staff can get the most out of these guys. Without a second round pick we had to either reach for a player like Leonard or hope that we can get some value out of these players chosen later in the draft.
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Old 05-18-2018, 02:08 PM   #8
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Re: Rookie tackle Rick Leonard's familiarity with Saints offensive line dates back to Florida State days

Originally Posted by Rugby Saint II View Post
This draft class is loaded with projects.....some more long term than others. There is something about every player we drafted that gives me hope that the coaching staff can get the most out of these guys. Without a second round pick we had to either reach for a player like Leonard or hope that we can get some value out of these players chosen later in the draft.
Rugs, we didn't have to reach for anyone, Payton and the Mickster just went back to their old draft ways after being disciplined last year and having a great draft...

It's the reaching and poor draft management that has limited the Saints to one Superbowl in the Brees era...
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Old 05-18-2018, 02:22 PM   #9
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Re: Rookie tackle Rick Leonard's familiarity with Saints offensive line dates back to Florida State days

Originally Posted by jeanpierre View Post
Rugs, we didn't have to reach for anyone, Payton and the Mickster just went back to their old draft ways after being disciplined last year and having a great draft...

It's the reaching and poor draft management that has limited the Saints to one Superbowl in the Brees era...
It was a reach based upon your personal board, but where was he on the Saints' draft board? For all we know he was sitting right there at the top and they felt he had fallen into their lap. I'll bet you that all 32 teams have draft boards that differ dramatically in different areas based upon things those team's personnel saw that others didn't ... be them correct or not. And I'll also wager they different in the same way from those created by outside "experts" and fans.

I understand you are extremely knowledgeable in the area of potential NFL rookies, but your idea of a reach may not jive with everyone's. While there can definitely be "WTF's" uttered in certain circles there are also most likely a few "craps" and "dammits" that were uttered by other frustrated that he didn't fall to them.

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Old 05-18-2018, 03:13 PM   #10
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Re: Rookie tackle Rick Leonard's familiarity with Saints offensive line dates back to Florida State days

Originally Posted by AsylumGuido View Post
It was a reach based upon your personal board, but where was he on the Saints' draft board? For all we know he was sitting right there at the top and they felt he had fallen into their lap. I'll bet you that all 32 teams have draft boards that differ dramatically in different areas based upon things those team's personnel saw that others didn't ... be them correct or not. And I'll also wager they different in the same way from those created by outside "experts" and fans.

I understand you are extremely knowledgeable in the area of potential NFL rookies, but your idea of a reach may not jive with everyone's. While there can definitely be "WTF's" uttered in certain circles there are also most likely a few "craps" and "dammits" that were uttered by other frustrated that he didn't fall to them.
Guido, it's really not about my personal board. I'll gladly subdue my ego to get past that point to have an on-point discussion...

Those that know me personally know I won't hesitate to fall on my sword so that all may have the truth...

The NFL rating service even had him at a R7-FA grade as well which NFL.com basically bases their information off of...

But, whether you want to disagree or not with those far more recognized folks; this is a player who's only played a year and a half as an offensive lineman, and not with stand-out performances...

Look Payton is a gambler and a showman and has the ego in-tow to boot and I love the Saints as much as anyone and love that he's like that on game day...

Even when he's calling double reverses...

But when it comes to building a team, just wish he and Mickey would defer to Ireland's "calm and disciplined influence" and actually let it have the most weight...

Didn't expect the same haul we had last year, but was hoping for the same approach...

I'm not so proudful that I want Davenport and/or Leonard to bust...

I want them to be great Saints and I've checked much of my pessimism and criticism a great deal on their outlooks in my posts in hopeful anticipation that I'm wrong about their prospects in the Fall...

Either way that works out, when it comes to the Draft, Payton reaches - period. And his moves fail far more often than not and is the single biggest handicap to this team's success...
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