ESPN’s Mel Kiper has dropped his latest mock draft, and New Orleans Saints fans may not be thrilled with the result.
According to Kiper (subscription required), the Saints will use the No. 15 overall pick on Notre Dame product Manti Te’o, who is known more for his off-field drama than his play on the field.
It’s an intriguing (crazy?) pick by Kiper, because inside linebacker is one of the stronger points on the Saints defense—if that’s even a good thing coming off the worst statistical performance in NFL history.
Te’o is strictly limited to playing inside linebacker at the NFL level. New Orleans has Curtis Lofton and David Hawthorne holding down that spot in Rob Ryan’s new 3-4 scheme.
Yet, Kiper has this to say about the selection:
There’s not a spot on defense where they don’t need help. I think Te’o will produce.
To be fair to Kiper, the first part of his statement is correct. Heck, the second part could turn out to be correct at some point as well.
The problem is, if the Saints need help everywhere, there has to be better names available than Te’o in the draft who can upgrade the defense, right?
New Orleans could go outside linebacker with someone like Jarvis Jones or Barkevious Mingo. Corner could be addressed with Xavier Rhodes or Brandon Banks. Safety with Kenny Vaccaro or Jonathan Cyprien. The list goes on and on.
One thing’s for sure—Kiper’s selection is a head-scratcher. Could is come to fruition? Sure. Is it the best move for the Saints as they try to rebuild the NFL’s worst defense and need new leadership on the field? Probably not given the negative attention surrounding Te’o before he’s even put on cleats to step on a professional field.