It’s hard to say just what the Saints will do come draft day. Clearly the biggest need is on the defensive side of the ball after two disappointing seasons. The Saints defense ranked in the bottom of the league in virtually every statistical category.
Offensively New Orleans is a powerhouse, ranking as the number one offense in the league.
They just couldn’t keep opposing teams from scoring or even get them off the field - resulting in an 8-8 season in 2008 and a 7-9 season in 2007.
Head Coach Sean Payton clearly is an offensive minded kind of guy. His man crush on Ohio State running back Chris “Beanie” Wells is an ominous sign.
Payton is locked onto the thought of adding a big bruising power back to his offense, and Wells should be available at the 14th pick .
Wells is a tremendous talent and would be a welcome addition to the Saints offense, although one I think they can pass on for the time being. The offense is fine – defense, defense, defense. They fix the defense there is nothing that can really stop them.
Hopefully new DC Gregg Williams has some pull when it comes to the decision making that goes into who they take in the draft. Surely he does and hopefully they stay squarely on the defensive side of the ball and keep the “mad visor” Payton away from the offensive side of the ball.
This all assuming the Saints don’t trade down to the bottom part of the first round or maybe pick up another pick by trading down into the second round – which many feel they will do.
I tend to agree that if they want to have a successful draft they must trade down for additional picks.
After all there is good value at linebacker in the bottom of the first round and it is a possibility that USC’s Brian Cushing could be available there.
Also they can pick up a safety at the top of the second round such as Oregon’s Patrick Chung or Western Michigan’s Louis Delmas.
For the sake of this mock draft there will be no trading up or down, just the straight 32 picks as they stand:
1. Detroit Lions: QB Matthew Stafford – Georgia
2. St.Louis Rams: OT Jason Smith – Baylor
3. Kansas City Chiefs: LB Aaron Curry – Wake Forest
4. Seattle Seahawks: OT Eugene Monroe – Virginia
5. Cleveland Browns: LB Brian Orakpo – Texas
6. Cincinnati Bengals: OT Michael Oher - Mississippi
7. Oakland Raiders: WR Jeremy Maclin – Missouri
8. Jacksonville Jaguars: WR Michael Crabtree – Texas Tech
9. Green Bay Packers: DT B.J. Raji – Boston College
10. San Francisco 49ers: QB Mark Sanchez – USC
11. Buffalo Bills: LB/DE Everette Brown – Florida State
12. Denver Broncos: DE Tyson Jackson – LSU
13. Washington Redskins: OT Andre Smith - Alabama
14. New Orleans Saints: DB Malcolm Jenkins – Ohio State
15. Houston Texans: DB Alphonso Smith - Wake Forest
16. San Diego Chargers: LB Ray Maualuga – USC
17. New York Jets: QB Pat White - West Virginia
18. Denver Broncos: DE Robert Ayers – Tennessee
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DT Peria Jerry – Mississippi
20. Detroit Lions: DE Aaron Maybin – Penn State
21. Philadelphia Eagles: RB Knowshon Moreno – Georgia
22. Minnesota Vikings: WR Percy Harvin – Florida
23. New England Patriots: LB Clay Matthews – USC
24. Atlanta Falcons: TE Brandon Pettigrew – Oklahoma State
25. Miami Dolphins: WR Darrius Heyward-Bey - Maryland
26. Baltimore Ravens: WR Kenny Britt – Rutgers
27. Indianapolis Colts: DT Evander Hood – Missouri
28. Buffalo Bills: OT Ebben Britton – Arizona
29. New York Giants: WR Hakeem Nicks – North Carolina
30. Tennessee Titans: DB Vontae Davis - Illinois
31. Arizona Cardinals: RB Chris Wells – Ohio State
32. Pittsburgh Steelers: OT Max Unger – Oregon
Many expect Malcolm Jenkins to be taken by Green Bay, but with their switch to a 3-4 based defensive scheme they need a 3 technique nose tackle. The best player available at the #9 spot for this is Boston College DT B.J. Raji.
Jenkins then falls to us with the 14th pick – the Saints couldn’t be happier to take him there.
There are other considerations at DB though, Vontae Davis is still on the board here as well as Alphonso Smith and fast rising Conneticut DB Darius Butler.
Some think Butler may be a reach at 14 but his pro day has been raved about as the best DB workout in recent memory – a huge boost to his stock.
Also there are several linebackers still available with the 14th pick. Including such names as Maualuga, Cushing, Matthews, and Laurinaitis.
Let’s just hope they get it right – which is preferably to trade down and grab Cushing then pick up a safety in the second round. Jenkins most likely will not fall to the Saints at #14.