SALT LAKE CITY — Kaden Elliss followed in his father’s footsteps into football, and now he’s following his father’s path into the top league in the sport.
Elliss, the former Judge Memorial High standout and son of Luther Elliss, was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the seventh round of the 2019 NFL draft Saturday. He was the 244th overall pick.
Luther Elliss was a former Utah Ute who was selected by the Detroit Lions in the 1995 NFL draft. His son’s path went through Idaho, where Kaden Elliss was a star linebacker for the Vandals.
“Elliss was a hard-working small-school defender who created a lot of disruption. He projects as a situational pass rusher at the next level and comes with a special-teams mentality,” Draft Analyst’s Tony Pauline wrote.
The 6-foot-3, 240-pounder was a quarterback a Judge Memorial, though he played a significant role on Idaho’s defense the past four seasons. Playing both inside and outside linebacker at Idaho, as well as the “Buck” pass rusher as a senior, he finished his college career with 278 tackles, 17 sacks, 47 tackles for loss and 13 pass deflections.
He was also a takeaway force, with five career interceptions, six forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.
Measurables: 4.65-second 40-yard dash, 34.5-inch vertical jump, 102-inch broad jump, 4.13-second short shuttle, 6.63-second 3-cone drill and 20 reps on bench press participating in Idaho and Utah Pro Days, according to The Athletic’s Dane Brugler
Scouting Elliss: “Elliss needs to find a permanent home on defense, but he is a high-effort athlete with football smarts and toughness to fill up the stat sheet, projecting as an immediate contributor on special teams,” wrote The Athletic’s Dane Brugler.
The New Orleans Saints have selected former Idaho linebacker Kaden Elliss with the No. 244 overall selection in the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
This is the final pick for the Saints until the NFL Draft begins again in 2020.
Over his four seasons at school, Elliss had 220 combined tackles, 28.5 tackles for loss, nine sacks, four interceptions, six pass breakups, and three forced fumbles as a collegian.
He joins a linebacker rotation that was last season regarded as among the most productive in the NFL, with Demario Davis, Alex Anzalone, and A.J. Klein projected as starters.
On Friday, the Saints announced their first draft pick in a trade with the Miami Dolphins to move up to 48th overall from No. 62, selecting Texas A&M center Erik McCoy.
From there, the club acquired Florida defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson with the No. 105 overall pick in the fourth round, followed by Rutgers safety Saquan Hampton at 177th overall.
Then, the Saints announced that they picked former Notre Dame tight end Alize Mack with the No. 231 overall pick in the seventh round as a prospect to develop behind Jared Cook.
Saints head coach Sean Payton said the team’s process of going into the draft is as simple as it gets: come away with the best player available, irrespective of position.
“Just hopefully, for us, good football players that we have the right vision for regardless of position,” Payton said. “Look, we’re going to be looking to see who gives us sub rush ability, whether it’s at the end or tackle position defensively.”
The Saints believe a few positions stick out in this year’s class.
“We were talking about our views on it and I think there are some pass rushers in this draft, probably more than what we ordinarily experience,” Loomis said. “I think the tight end group’s pretty deep. Quarterbacks, I think is a deep group. I think those three, but there’s other positions you can find wide receivers, I think in this class as well. I think in general we feel like it’s (a) pretty deep draft.”
Loomis said the thinking behind the Saints’ draft will be the same even though the team didn’t make a pick in the first round.
“The process was exactly the same,” he said. “I think maybe when we finally got to the meetings, we probably spent a little less time talking about those guys at very top of the draft, but the process is exactly the same. Our guys evaluated every player. We talked about every player that is draftable for us and that hasn’t changed.”
The Saints believe you can never get enough information on a player.
“I think all information is good and we’re collecting information right up to the moment we pick and I hear that a lot, ‘overanalyze,’” he said, “but I’m of the thought that you can’t analyze enough, you’ve got to collect all the information you can get and make your best decision and I think we do a good job of that. I think our scouts and our coaches do a great job of that actually.”