The Saints have reached terms on a contract with their only 2014 draft pick to not yet sign one, the team has announced.
Fourth-round selection Khairi Fortt, a linebacker out of California, agreed to a standard four-year contract Monday. Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks (first round), Nebraska cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste (second), Florida linebacker Ronald Powell (fifth), Alabama safety Vinnie Sunseri (fifth) and Kansas State tackle Tavon Rooks (sixth) had all signed previously.
The 6-2, 240-pound Fortt began his college career at Penn State but transferred to California following the Sandusky scandal. He redshirted in 2012 because of a knee injury and played just one season for the Golden Bears, emerging as a semifinalist for the Butkus Award given to the nation’s top linebacker.
Fortt is powerful, having posted 30 reps in the 225-pound bench press at the scouting combine in February, tying for first among players at his position. He led his team in tackles for most of 2013 before finishing third after missing three contests with a hurt biceps.
Interestingly, the Saints’ Sean Payton will be Fortt’s sixth head coach since 2010. He played under Joe Paterno (2010), interim coach Tom Bradley (2011) and Bill Blankenship (spring 2012) at Penn State. At California, he worked with Jeff Tedford (2012) and Sonny Dykes (2013).
Fortt played for five head coaches during his college career. He signed with Penn State out of high school, playing under Joe Paterno (2010), interim coach Tom Bradley (2011) and Bill Blankenship (spring 2012).
After the Jerry Sandusky scandal, he transferred to California, where he worked under Jeff Tedford (2012) and Sonny Dykes (2013).
“He played outside linebacker (at California), but we see him as a weakside inside linebacker candidate,” Payton has said. “We felt like he was a good player on a defense that wasn’t good.”
California, for the record, was 1-11 and gave up a staggering 45.9 points per game in 2013.