So, it’s April. Draft time. There’s a plethora of arguments gong around as to what exactly it is that the Saints need. There should be no argument. It’s obvious. We need defense. We’ve had one of the best offenses in the league since Payton got here. Even had a damn good one last year. (Minus the dropsies from Colston and Graham, Joe Morgan not catching til week 10, and some of the ugliest, soul crushing interceptions in some of the biggest games of the year from Drew Brees, that offense MAY have been able to make some noise in the playoffs despite the defenseless defense.
Welp, time to turn the page. You all know what has already gone down so far this off-season with the Ryan hiring and the free agent acquisitions so I’m not going over them again. We’re going to take a look at the draft and see what’s what with who, what, where and why we could or would draft someone.
I’m not some draft guru, so I use the regular sites out there just like you guys, therefore you may have read some of the things I post.
My take: Saw him play quite a bit this year because he’s in the SEC. He was obviously their best defensive player on the field. Didn’t look that big to me, but sure looked good getting after the quarterback or making people pay. It’s been reported that he’s not a “workout guy” and it kind of shows just but the way he looks on the field. You know what he does look like though? A god damn football player. Personally, I couldn’t care less how many reps on the bench he can do or how fast he can run forty yards and you know why? Absolutely none of that matters while the game is being played. Dude is a hell of a pass rusher, not scared to take on runners head-on, and straight up looks good out there. Period. (Minus the jersey number. Always hate seeing things like defensive linemen wearing numbers in the 20’s)
Walterfootball’s take (excerpt):
Jones should be a pass-rushing demon and a phenomenal edge-rusher in the NFL. He fires up field off the snap and is extremely hard for offensive linemen to get a hold of. Jones has good hands to fight off blocks with moves to get around linemen. While he isn’t a power player, he uses some functional strength along with his athleticism to shed blocks.
Jones is a heat-seeking missile in pursuit. He is great at chasing down quarterbacks and running backs from behind. Jones is always cognizant of the ball and does a great job of slapping it out to force turnovers. He was a sack-fumble machine in college. While Jones does not have blazing speed, he is football fast and that was clear with how he dominated the SEC.
There are a few areas Jones needs to improve for the pros. He needs more strength to hold up against runs that come directly at him. That would also help him to avoid some missed tackles.
Scouts at the East-West Shrine told WalterFootball.com that Jones would slide on draft day because it was their belief he would test poorly before the draft and isn’t a hard worker in the weight room. The scouts said that watching the game tape, Jones is worthy of being a high first-round pick, but they didn’t feel he will go that high. That prediction was validated in the months to come. Jones declined to work out at the Combine and had an ugly showing at his pro day with a terrible 40-yard dash time between 4.9 and 5.0 seconds.
WalterFootball.com spoke with scouts who were in attendance at the pro day, and they said he did well in the linebacker drills, but really struggled in the timed tests. Scouts said that Jones isn’t a bad teammate or a bad guy, but he isn’t a guy who coaches will love during the week because he doesn’t put in a lot of work. However, scouts said they loved the way he showed up on game day.
Jones could be an elite pass-rusher at the next level. If he goes to a good organization and coaching staff that can motivate him, he could be an absolute force. If Jones lands with a bad team that has frequent coaching changes and instability, there is the potential for him to not pan out. With the workout concerns and the neck injury, he could easily fall to the middle of the first round.
New Orleans at No. 15 makes a lot of sense. The Saints need an edge-rusher for their change to the 3-4. Jones could easily go to New Orleans. Duh (*emphasis added)
My take: I’m not going to lie. I didn’t watch him play much this year. I don’t care if they are now in the SEC, they’re still Missouri. Once the college bowl season ended and this kid’s name started popping up everywhere, I decided to watch a little :gamefilm: (aka youtube highlights) on him. What I learned: he’s strong, he’s fast, he’s big, he plays hard in all situations and looks like he could really be the real deal in the NFL. I don’t care how many successful first round defensive tackles there have been over the years but I would be hesitant to take one if I were Loomis, and I think we all know why. Jonathan Sullivan. God, the ol’ stomach starts turning just at the mention of his name. Ellis lovers will tell you that he was good enough to start for us for five years, so there shouldn’t be any worries going defensive tackle in the first. Really, Mrs. Ellis? He was the 7th overall pick and couldn’t even make an impact in a contract year and isn’t even listed on most free agent trackers. At least he bought some cool cars.
Back to Richardson. I don’t want him at 15. I just look at the top 32 players in this draft and there has to be someone there at 15 who could be more of an impact than Richardson. Trade back into the 20’s? OK, then that’s cool. Just don’t see Loomis all of a sudden going rogue to trade back. Never has been the man’s M.O. Would I be swimming in a bottle of bourbon if we did take him at 15? No. There’s a reason I don’t work for the Saints and Walter has some pretty good things to say about him.
Walterfootball’s take (excerpt):
Richardson finished the year second on Missouri in tackles with 75. He registered 10.5 tackles for a loss, four sacks, three passes broken up and three forced fumbles. too. Richardson also returned a fumble 60 yards against Kentucky. The Tigers did not qualify for a Bowl game, and the junior quickly declared for the 2013 NFL Draft. He recorded 37 tackles, eight tackles for a loss, two sacks and a forced fumble in 2011.
Missouri used Richardson at defensive end and tackle. He had success as a pass-rusher at end as well as at tackle. Richardson beat Alabama right tackle D.J. Fluker for a sack coming from end, and is a much better pass-rusher than his sack totals indicate. Richardson had 14 tackles against Alabama. He was impressive going against the Crimson Tide’s superb offensive line.
Against Kentucky’s Larry Warford, Richardson didn’t make plays versus the tough guard but found a way to have a big impact versus the Wildcats’ other linemen.
Richardson could be a dangerous pass-rusher in the NFL as a three-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense. He also could play end on run downs and move inside to tackle in passing situations for a 4-3 system. Richardson also would fit as a 3-4 defensive end given his length, speed and great motor. He is an impact player who is a three-down player and tone-setter for a defense. Richardson is a fiery player who has some potential to be a leader in the locker room.
The Saints would be a great fit for Richardson, too. He could play defensive end in potential running situations and move inside to tackle on pass plays. Richardson would be a huge upgrade for New Orleans’ defensive line, and the team badly needs a player like him on defense.
Just glad that football is right around the corner. I mean drinking too much on a Sunday just isn’t the same without some football on tv or at the dome acting a fool.
Good things to come.