As Ben indicated in his NFL Draft preview on Thursday, the collective outlook for Tech’s most recent senior class was not particularly strong, and (perhaps as expected) nobody from Tech had their name called on any of the three days of the draft. On the bright side, one player received some good news before too long. A short time after the draft concluded, the Tech football Twitter account announced that defensive end Anree Saint-Amour had signed with the Minnesota Vikings as a free agent.
It’s a welcome development for one of the most effective players on Tech’s defense a year ago. As one of the starting defensive ends in Tech’s 3-4 scheme, Saint-Amour finished the year with 47 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, four sacks, and three forced fumbles. While his sack total was low, Saint-Amour proved to be a disruptive lineman who was frequently able to break into the backfield.
The AJC’s Ken Sugiura and others reported that Saint-Amour had private workouts with the Cincinnati Bengals and at least one other unidentified team prior to the draft, so it seemed likely that he would latch on somewhere even if he were not selected. Still, as an undrafted free agent, Saint-Amour faces a long road to ultimately make Minnesota’s 53-man roster. He joins a team that has ace pass rusher Danielle Hunter and veteran Everson Griffen as the starting defensive ends and several young players filling out the depth chart.
Saint-Amour has a few things playing in his favor, though, starting with the fact that the Vikings did not draft any players at his position—so his competition will be limited to the players on the roster and any additional UDFA defensive ends that the team signs.
It’s still early, so it’s entirely possible that one or more additional Tech players will sign free agent contracts with teams in the next few days. The more likely scenario is that a few players will secure camp tryouts with teams during the summer. Given the situation, the recent collapse of the AAF is even more unfortunate; several former Tech players had become starters or significant contributors for the Atlanta Legends, and some of the 2018 seniors who had limited NFL prospects—such as wide receiver Brad Stewart and quarterback-turned-receiver TaQuon Marshall—would have been intriguing players at the AAF level.
For now, in the immediate wake of the draft, Saint-Amour will be the sole representative of Tech’s 2018 senior class in the professional ranks.