Mickey Loomis: New kickoff rule is a discussion topic as Saints evaluate draft prospects

The NFL's new kickoff rule is having an impact on how teams set their draft boards.

Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis said today that they are talking over how the new low-impact kickoff, in which 10 players on the kickoff team will line up five yards across from nine or 10 players on the receiving team, should affect their roster construction. Loomis said they've talked to special teams coaches about what kind of players they'll want on kickoffs, and with people who have experience in the XFL when that league used a version of the low-impact kickoff.

"We're discussing that. We've had a lot of discussions with our special teams coaches, and even people in the league who had experience with that type of kickoff, about what's the makeup of those units," Loomis said. "It's a topic, for sure."

First-round picks aren't drafted for whether they can block or tackle on kickoffs, but on the third day of the draft, don't be surprised if some players are getting drafted largely because of what they can do on special teams, with the new kickoff rule a key element in the evaluation of those players who will be fighting for roster spots this summer.