Saints' Alleman expected to compete for backup guard spot
By Len Pasquarelli
Updated: June 11, 2007, 2:03 PM ET
The New Orleans Saints on Monday reached agreement with third-round choice Andy Alleman, an offensive guard from Akron, and the first of the team's seven selections from this year's draft to come to terms on a contract.
The 88th prospect chosen overall, Alleman will sign a three-year, $1.604 million contract. The deal includes a $489,000 signing bonus and league minimum base salaries of $285,000 (2007), $370,000 (2008) and $460,000 (2009).
Alleman, 23, is the third-highest chosen player from among the draft's 255 prospects to reach a contract accord. No player above the third round has yet struck a deal, and he is one of only six third-round picks with a contract. Alleman is also one of the few players from among the roughly 30 signed so far to land a three-year contract.
Most teams have opted to sign their middle- and late-round choices to four-year contracts, the maximum term permitted for players chosen after the first round. The Saints last year signed all their picks after the second round to three-year deals, which historically was the standard for middle- and late-round selections.
Known as a throwback-type player, and a strong drive-blocker, Alleman (6-feet-4, 305 pounds) is a prospect who gained plenty of admirers around the league in the last few weeks leading up to the April draft. Scouts grew enamored of his physical style, in-line blocking skill and all-around toughness.
He began his college career as a defensive end at the University of Pittsburgh, and after playing as a reserve and collecting eight tackles in 24 games over two seasons, transferred to Akron, where he moved to right guard. He started in 24 of 25 appearances in his two seasons at Akron and scored high grades from coaches for assignment completion.
On the New Orleans roster, Alleman will have a chance to compete for the No. 3 guard job behind starters Jamar Nesbit and Jahri Evans, each of whom started all 16 games in 2006. A fourth-round pick in 2006, Evans figures to be a fixture on the Saints' line for a long time, but Nesbit is 30 years old and Alleman might project as the eventual replacement for the eight-year veteran.
Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.