2011 NFL Mock Draft: Predicting The Saints Picks Round 1 Through 7

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Round 1 Pick 24: Linebacker Martez Wilson, Illinois

Breakdown: Wilson flashed some serious potential at the Combine posting a 4.42 forty yard dash at six foot four and 240 pounds. He is versatile enough to play middle and outside linebacker in a 4-3 defense, heck even 3-4 teams are interested in the big man. The Saints need help at linebacker just as much as they do on the defensive line and getting Wilson at 24 is a steal considering he can immediately step in and contribute. Shanle and Clark may not return next season andeven if they do the Saints still need to upgrade around Jonathan Vilma.

Round 2 Pick 56: Defensive End Adrian Clayborn, Iowa

Breakdown: Clayborn is projected by some as a first round draft choice but many have been scared off by a lack of production in his senior season as well as his potential for nerve damage stemming for Erbs Palsy. However if he is available at 56 I think the Saints wouldn’t think twice to take him there considering his value. Clayborn stands six foot three and weighs 286 pounds and while not slow is not considered a speed style pass rusher. His big frame will hold up well against the run, a problem area for the Saints, and while he may not be an immediate starter he certainly can be used in rotation.

Round 3 Pick 72: Tight End Rob Housler, Florida Atlantic

Breakdown: Jeremy Shockey is gone, Jimmy Graham is now the new starter and David Thomas is a free agent. In Sean Payton’s offense tight ends are vital and in Housler’s case his sheer athleticism is very appealing. Not unlike Graham Housler’s measurables are off the chart — 4.46 40 yard dash, 37-inch vertical and80 inch wingspan — all currently packed into a 248 pound frame. He can learn how to be a good blocker at the next level andhis paring withGraham could be dynamic, not unlike the Patriots with Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski last season.

Round 3 Pick 88: Defensive Tackle Marvin Austin, North Carolina

Breakdown: Austin likely would have been a first round pick if not for the suspension levied against him by the NCAA for receiving improper benefits that effectively wiped away his 2010 season. Most scouts would agree however that he possesses a great combination of power and speed, can be disruptive in the backfieldyet stand up to blocks and penetrate when defending against the run. The Saints need to get better at stopping opposing running backs and he can help. His addition helps take some stress off the newly acquired Shaun Rogers giving the Saints more options and versatility in their defensive line.

Round 7 Pick 215: Running Back Roy Helu, Nebraska

Breakdown: Helu is an intriguing prospect with some mocks having him as high as a fourth round selection while others place him in the seventh. He showed marked improvement throughout his collegiate career excelling each season, which is want NFL teams want to see. In his senior season he turned in his best performance posting 1,245 rushing yards and eleven touchdowns on 188 carries for a whopping a 6.62 yard per carry average. If the Saints learned anything last season it’s that you can’t have enough healthy running backs on the roster and once again if he is taken here the Saints have another high value pick.

For more mock drafts and analysis visit Who Dat Dish’s draft database linked here, as well as nflmocks.com and walterfootball.com for unique draft perspectives.

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