The New Orleans Saints have used the No. 15 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft on former Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker in NFLmocks.com’s latest NFL mock draft by Fansided’s very own, Sayre Bedinger.
Bedinger’s explanation for the pick:
The Saints missed out on some of the best pass rushers in this class, and so they turn their attention to protecting their passer. Jermon Bushrod bolted for the Bears, and Fluker is coming from a fantastic OL at Alabama and can play the RT spot with Charles Brown taking over at LT.
Offensive tackle is certainly a huge need for the Saints, and is a legitimate option for the team here depending on how much the coaching staff believes in the players currently on the roster and which prospects have already come off the board.
Fluker is a mammoth of a tackle at 6’5” and 340 pounds that paved the way as one member of an NFL-caliber offensive line at Alabama.
The only downside surrounding Fluker is he is strictly a right tackle in the NFL, if not a guard. He’s a mauling force similar to Cincinnati’s Andre Smith who is unstoppable in the running game and above-average in pass protection. Adding him to the fray would mean Charles Brown ends up as the starting left tackle next season.
What’s interesting about the mock is that other players were still on the board at areas of need for the Saints. At nose tackle, Ohio State’s Jonathan Hankins and Purdue’s Kawann Short were still available. At safety, Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro was still on the board. Joining them were cornerbacks Jonathan Banks and Desmond Trufant.
The decision at No. 15 in this situation would ultimately come down to who the Saints have rated highest on the board.
New Orleans historically doesn’t care for offensive lineman early in the draft, but that could change this year as Bedinger suggests. The team has a lot of money invested in Roman Harper and may survive with Patrick Robinson and Keenan Lewis as the starting corners.
As of now, picking Fluker or another offensive tackle makes too much sense for the Saints. Protecting Drew Brees has to be the priority because if he goes down, Luke McCown is the starter.
That’s a scary thought.