Oct 6, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Ryan Shazier (10) celebrates in the first quarter against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

WDD: New Orleans Saints Mock Draft Madness v2.0

The 2014 NFL draft is rapidly approaching. We’re just nine days away until we know who the New Orleans Saints will select with the #27 overall pick. I have little doubt in my mind that you’ve already been filled with hundreds of other mock drafts, but in the off-chance that you haven’t, here’s my second installment.

Here’s some ‘need to know’ for this draft before we get started.

2014 NFL Draft, Round 1 – Pick by Pick:

  1. Houston Texans - DE, Jadeveon Clowney 
  2. St. Louis Rams - OT, Greg Robinson 
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars - OLB, Khalil Mack
  4. Cleveland Browns - WR, Sammy Watkins 
  5. Oakland Raiders - QB, Blake Bortles
  6. Atlanta Falcons - OT, Jake Matthews
  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - WR, Mike Evans
  8. Minnesota Vikings - OLB, Anthony Barr 
  9. Buffalo Bills - ILB, C.J. Mosley
  10. Detroit Lions - CB, Justin Gilbert
  11. Tennessee Titans - S, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
  12. New York Giants - TE, Eric Ebron 
  13. St. Louis Rams - WR, Odell Beckham Jr.
  14. Chicago Bears - DT, Aaron Donald
  15. Pittsburgh Steelers - OT, Zack Martin
  16. Dallas Cowboys - DE, Dee Ford
  17. Baltimore Ravens - CB, Darqueze Dennard 
  18. New York Jets - TE, Troy Niklas
  19. Miami Dolphins - OT, Taylor Lewan
  20. Arizona Cardinals - QB, Teddy Bridgewater
  21. Green Bay Packers - S, Calvin Pryor
  22. Philadelphia Eagles - WR, Brandin Cooks
  23. Kansas City Chiefs - WR, Marqise Lee
  24. Cincinnati Bengals - S, Jimmie Ward
  25. San Diego Chargers - DT, Louis Nix III
  26. Cleveland Browns - QB, Johnny Manziel
  27. New Orleans Saints - OLB, Ryan Shazier
  28. Carolina Panthers - OT, Joel Bitonio
  29. New England Patriots - DT, Tommy Jernigan
  30. San Francisco 49ers - CB, Kyle Fuller
  31. Denver Broncos - DE, Kony Ealy
  32. Seattle Seahawks - OT, Morgan Moses

This was a tough decision. On one hand, I had the chance to take my pick on cornerbacks Kyle Fuller & Jason Verrett. On the other hand, I also had a choice to make about selecting defensive end Kony Ealy. I opted for Shazier for several reasons (see below).

Combine Notes

  • Combine Profile
  • 4.38 40-yard dash
  • 3 Cone Drill: 6.91 Seconds (Combine Top Performer)
  • Broad Jump: 130″ (Combine Top Performer)
  • Vertical Jump: 42″ (Combine Top Performer)

Physical Attributes 

  • Height: 6’1″
  • Weight: 237 lbs
  • Hands: 10″
  • Arm Length: 32 3/8″

Saints’ Track History – Previous First Round Picks Used On Linebackers

  • 1995 – Robert Fields, Washington State
  • 1985 – Alvin Toles, Tennessee
  • 1974 – Rick Middleton, Ohio State

Why It Makes Sense for the Saints: On one side at outside linebacker, there’s Junior Galette. On the other? Enter the debate. On more than one occasion, I have voiced my opinion on the returns of veterans Parys Haralson and Keyunta Dawson. I believe Haralson adds value in the run defense, and Dawson made plays more than once on defense and special teams. I further believe that Victor Butler should be completely healthy and ready to make a huge impact. However, as we saw more than once last season, injuries can easily deplete any type depth. Shazier has been heralded as an ‘instant-impact’ rookie on defense.

“If he were to land at a place like Denver, where he’ll be playing against the pass, his ability to run, blitz, cover will have an immediate impact.” -Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com)

Shazier fits every criteria that Rob Ryan is looking for in his defense. Playing in nickel coverage and just having the ability to cover is a huge upside. I’m not saying that any of the other linebackers cannot do this already, but Shazier has proven this ability in college. He’d make a huge push to get on the field from the very start.

The Reality: Shazier looks to be a prime target as soon as we hit #20 in the draft. He’s been linked to the Green Bay Packers, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, and Denver Broncos. The Saints already have some young, but unproven depth at outside linebacker with Rufus Johnson and Kyle Knox. Shazier would be a huge addition to the team if he makes it to pick #27.

John’s Previous Mock Draft Selections:

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  • Scott

    Steelers wont take Martin if Dennard is on the board when its their pick. The O-Linemen we have arent the greatest but I think Munchak can get them to play better and CB is a greater need. I also think the Saints would be better suited to take corner with their pick as I dont know if Shazier is as good as advertised-think Malcolm Jenkins.