We’re exactly one week away, gentlemen! I’ve done some more research and here’s what I came up with. You can see the previous version of my mock draft here.
As usual, a quick reminder of the Saints’ picks:
Round 1 – Pick 27
Round 2 – Pick 58
Round 3 – Pick 91
Round 4 – Pick 126
Round 5 – Pick 167
Round 5 – Pick 169 (thanks to the Darren Sproles trade)
Round 6 – Pick 202
(Saints’ seventh round pick belongs to the San Francisco 49ers as part of the Parys Haralson trade).
Without further ado, let’s get started!
27th Overall Pick (Round 1)
Jason Verrett, CB, TCU: I’m sticking with my original idea of grabbing a cornerback in the first round and nobody is gonna change that. Wide receiver? Definitely a need but we can take one later. Pass rusher? I’m happy with Junior Galette on one side and Parys Haralson, who will rotate with Victor Butler and (hopefully) Rufus Johnson, on the other side.
While Verrett would be my own ideal pick for a number of reason that I already explained in my mock draft 1.0, he might not be there when the Saints are on the clock so here’s a few other corners I’d like the Saints to select:
Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech: the aggressive bump-and-run corner enjoys jamming wide receivers at the line of scrimmage and is fast enough (he ran a 4.49 40-yard dash at the NFL combine) to run with wideouts downfield. Fuller should be able to start right away and be effective in run defense too, as he is a very good tackler. Interceptions aren’t his speciality but he is a solid overall player and is definitely worth a first-round pick.
Bradley Roby, Ohio State: another corner who loves to play press-man coverage, Roby could potentially become a superstar under Rob Ryan. His game isn’t refined yet but he has extremely good instincts that allow him to shadow receivers out of their breaks and stay with them until the refs blow whistle. Roby can make an immediate impact on special teams and start as a slot corner and then play outside.
58th Overall Pick (Round 2)
Chris Borland, ILB, Wisconsin: I’m going defense in the second round too because inside linebacker is another weak spot in our defense. Curtis Lofton is great, as I pointed out a few days ago in this article, but David Hawthorne isn’t a reliable starter. The Saints need a run-stopper who can complement Curtis Lofton in the middle of the field.
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller wrote about Borland:
A lockdown run defender in the tackle box, Chris Borland is a hard hitter with a violent streak. He’s not the biggest guy (5’11”, 248 pounds) or the fastest (4.83 in the 40), but he has incredible instincts and football IQ. … His knee bend and agility are top-tier, and he does play much faster than his 40 time.
Borland does come into the NFL as a maxed-out player—both in terms of physique and technique. You don’t see identifiable areas where he can improve, as he’s an instincts-and-agility player with top-end reaction skills.
What I like about the 4-year starter at Wisconsin is his ability to wrap up almost every tackle he makes, his experience and I think he can contribute on the field from day 1.
91st Overall Pick (Round 3)
Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU: Landry was considered one of the top receivers in this year’s draft once the season was over but a couple of bad performances at the NFL combine and at LSU pro day left a mark on his resumé and that’s why he realistically can fall into the Saints’ lap in the third round.
We shouldn’t be too much worried about his pre-draft struggles because his tape tells a whole different story: Landry is an NFL-ready receiver who can be the perfect replacement for Lance Moore. Like Moore, Landry has a nice pair of hands that he uses well to always secure the football, even if it’s a tough/contested catch and his success in the short passing game shows his excellent route-running ability.
Jarvis Landry might not be the biggest, fastest receiver of this draft class but I think he would be a good fit for the Saints’ offense.
126th Overall Pick (Round 4)
De’Anthony Thomas, WR/RB, Oregon: often compared to Darren Sproles, Thomas should be able to replace him now the Sproles flies with the Eagles. The Saints’ returning game pretty much sucked lately and the Chip Kelly product is an electric playmaker who can fix that. There are some concerns about his natural position but I’m sure Sean Payton doesn’t give a **** because he is one of the best in the league when it comes to creativity.
He averaged 25.8 yards per kick return and 17.1 yards per punt return with the Ducks, returning four kicks for touchdowns. That’s the type of player we need to revamp the special teams unit.
167th Overall Pick (Round 5)
Bryan Stork, C, Florida State: the leader of a championship FSU offensive line, a first-team All-ACC selection last year and the winner of the 2013 Rimington Trophy (a prize awarded to the best college center in the nation every year), Stork has the skill set to be successful in an offensive scheme similar to the one Sean Payton runs.
He still has some work to do to be a good run blocker in the NFL but he comes out of college as an excellent pass protector. Stork, who already visited with the Saints in a pre-draft meeting, has huge hands (10.5″) and good overall strength. He is the perfect candidate to compete with Tim Lelito for the starting job in 2014.
169th Overall Pick (Round 5)
Adrian Hubbard, OLB, Alabama: the 6’6″, 257 linebacker is a big, strong and versatile player: he can play both outside linebacker in a 3-4 system and defensive end in sub-packages, as he was asked to do at Alabama. His long arms allow him to be very effective around the line of scrimmage so why is he likely to fall in the fifth round? Hubbard never put up great numbers and his big body limits his athleticism.
I almost went QB with this pick (David Fales from San José State would be a great fit in my opinion) but I finally decided to add some depth on defense, while Sean Payton and newly acquired QB coach Mike Neu develop Ryan Griffin.
202nd Overall Pick (Round 6)
Michael Schofield, OT, Michigan: Fat guy time! All jokes aside, the Saints need to add some depth on the offensive line and Schofield could be an interesting project for the Saints’ coaching staff. Measuring at 6’6″, 301 pounds he has the size to become an adequate NFL tackle but his arm length is a concern, as they are just 34″ long. He makes up for that with quick feet and good speed, which he showed at the combine when he ran a 5.1 40-yard dash.
If Schofield can overcome some issues with the help of our coaching staff while sitting behind Zach Strief for a couple of years he can become a starting right tackle in the NFL.