The New Orleans Saints made it official by signing their 2019 rookie draft class to their first NFL contracts.
New Orleans Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis announced that the club has signed their 2019 draft class to four-year contracts; center Erik McCoy, defensive backs Chauncey Gardner-Johnsonand Saquan Hampton, tight end Alizé Mack*,* and linebacker Kaden Elliss.
McCoy was the Saint's second round draft choice (48th overall) out of Texas A&M and the club' first pick overall. The 6-foot-4, 315-pound Lufkin, Tex. native started all 39 games he appeared in during his three seasons (37 starts at center, two at guard). Blocking for the Southeastern Conference's leading rusher in 2018 and for an offense that rushed for over 2,000 yards each of the last three seasons, McCoy declared for the NFL Draft following his redshirt junior season after graduating.
Gardner-Johnson was the Saints' fourth round draft choice (105th overall) out of Florida. The 6-foot-0, 208-pound Cocoa, Fla. Native moved into the starting lineup for Florida as a freshman in 2016 and played a key role in the club's resurgent defense in 2018. Opening all 13 games with 12 starts, he posted 71 tackles, four interceptions (two returned for a touchdown), two passes defensed, nine tackles-for-loss and three sacks for a unit that helped the Gators lead the nation in fourth quarter passing efficiency and second in fourth quarter opponent completion percentage. He finished his career with 161 tackles (91 solo), 17 passes defensed, nine interceptions (three returned for touchdowns), and four sacks.
Hampton was the Saints' sixth round draft choice (177th overall) out of Rutgers, the first Scarlet Knights player ever selected by the Black and Gold. The 6-foot-1, 209-pound Hamilton, N.J. native was a four-year letterman (2015-18) and three-year starter for the Scarlet Knights, where he played in 39 games and made 27 starts. Hampton was voted a team captain in 2018 and earned the Homer Hazel Award as Rutgers' Most Valuable Player and All-Big Ten honorable mention (media and coaches) after a breakout season, recording 65 tackles, three for loss, three interceptions, 16 passes defensed and one fumble recovery. He departed with career totals of 177 tackles (120 solo), seven stops behind the line of scrimmage, five interceptions, 24 passes defensed and one fumble recovery.
Mack was the first of New Orleans' two seventh-round picks (231st overall) and a three-year starter at Notre Dame, where he played in 35 career games with 23 starts. The 6-foot-5, 247-pound Las Vegas, Nev. native had a breakout season in 2018 after posting 36 catches for 360 yards and three touchdowns. In his career, he hauled in 68 passes for 716 yards (10.5 avg.) and four TDs.
Elliss, 6-3, 240, was the second of New Orleans' two seventh-round picks (244th overall) and a four-year contributor at Idaho, where he appeared in 47 games. A first team All-Big Sky selection in 2018, Elliss recorded 60 tackles, led the Vandals with 16 stops for loss and seven sacks and added three passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. The son of former Detroit Lions standout Luther Elliss, he finished his career with 288 stops, 47 tackles for loss and 17 sacks, finishing 13th in Vandals history for stops and fifth in stops for loss.
With the 177th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints selected Rutgers defensive back Saquan Hampton
With the 231st pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints selected Notre Dame tight end Alizé Mack