While the season is not over and the New Orleans Saints still have four games left to play, FanSided NFL has begun their 2013 Mock Draft in earnest. They reveal their pick for the Saints and I’ll give my reaction to it and maybe offer a different perspective.
FanSided has the Saints picking at the 16th spot in the first round which suggest that they have finished with an 8-8 or 9-7 record. The last time the Saints chose this early was in 2009 when they took safety Malcolm Jenkins with the 14th pick of the first round and finished 8-8 the year before.
This is FanSided NFL’s pick at #16:
Sheldon Richardson, Defensive Tackle, Missouri
The Saints will be losing interior defensive line depth during free agency and they need a dynamic interior rusher. While this draft has a surplus of edge rushers, the interior rushers like Richardson will not be as common. Richardson fits exactly what New Orleans needs at this time to improve in the trenches.
I’ve also seen Richardson as the pick by WalterFootball.com in their mock draft for the Saints. I can see where both sites would get this pick from and why.
Walter Football cites Sedrick Ellis as being the reason for the upgrade and I totally agree. Ellis’ production hasn’t been that of a first round pick and doesn’t look to get any better.
Ellis will be an unrestricted free agent next year and I’d be surprised if he comes back unless the Saints sign him back for an extremely low base price. If not then yes there would be a need for his replacement.
But this is where I believe last year’s third round pick Akiem Hicks comes into play, literally. Hicks has been outstanding when he does play and shows that not only does he have the size and brute force, but is athletic as well.
The Saints also have defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker that caused some noise in preseason but hasn’t been activated except for one game. Walker is likely a developmental project similar to defensive end Junior Galette.
What the Saints do need is an edge rusher that other teams have to plan for each and every week. With some premium rushers available, the Saints need to strike while the iron is hot.