The Saints sign their first draft pick

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As you could tell from reading these pages for a day or two, the Saints have had a lot on their plate this offseason.

The neverending bounty fallout and Drew Brees’ contract haven’t left them much bandwidth for signing draft picks even as team after team was getting all of their picks under contract. That finally changed on Thursday with the team’s announcement that they have signed third-round pick Akiem Hicks. It’s the standard four-year deal for players drafted after the first round for the defensive tackle.

Hicks was the team’s first selection in April after they traded their first round pick to New England and had their second-rounder taken away as part of the league’s bounty punishment. Hicks has the requisite size for the position, but he’s pretty raw after finishing his college ball at the University of Regina. Hicks, who started his college career at LSU, also broke his hand during offseason work, but he’s expected to be good to go for training camp.

The slow start to signing draft picks drew the attention of the NFLPA, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. While there’s nothing in the CBA stipulating when teams should start talking contract with their draftees, La Canfora reported that the union believes the delay violates the spirit of “good-faith negotiations” as espoused by the CBA.

Given the relative ease of signing players under the CBA, it is a bit surprising that the Saints waited so long to get it done. Absent other evidence, though, it’s tough to point to any specific intent on the part of the Saints.