Draft picks too scarce for the New Orleans Saints to jump on Asante Samuel?


The New Orleans Saints will not make their first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft until late in the third round, having traded their first round pick to the Patriots, and getting stripped of their second round pick by the NFL as a penalty for the “bounty” program.

Their picks in order will be; 3rd round 89th overall, 4th round 122nd overall, 5th round 162nd overall, 6th round 179th overall (From Dolphins), and 7th round 234th overall.

New Orleans addressed most of their needs in free agency after agreeing to terms with left guard Ben Grubbs, defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley, linebacker Curtis Lofton, linebacker David Hawthorne, and linebacker Chris Chamberlain.

But they still have needs, primarily at cornerback after allowing Tracy Porter and backup Leigh Torrence to sign elsewhere. But, it’s not as if they wanted either back very badly.

Left on the roster is Jabari Greeer, Patrick Robinson, Johnny Patrick, and newcomers Kamaal Mcllwain, Cord Parks, and Josh Victorian.

Mcllwain, Parks, and Victorian are all long shots to make the final 53-man roster.

That leaves the Saints very thin at a position that has become increasingly important in today’s pass happy NFL.

A few free agent cornerbacks have made a visit — including Kelvin Hayden, Elbert Mack, and Andre Goodman — but no signings took place.

Hayden signed with the Bears, and Goodman as well as Mack are still free agents.

News broke today that the Philadelphia Eagles have lowered their asking price for Pro Bowl cornerback Asante Samuel, now asking only a fifth or sixth round pick from the receiving team.

Samuel started 14-games for the Eagles last season, notching 34 tackles and ten pass deflections with three interceptions.

Philadelphia just doesn’t need Samuel any longer since they acquired Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha last year in free agency.

But the Saints need a corner and he is available for a decent price, barring his potential contract.

Samuel’s three interceptions last season were his lowest total since 2005, but he bounced back the next season in 2006 when he snagged a career high ten interceptions.

Similar magic could strike again with the Saints, who may be willing to pull the trigger if they feel he can immediately contribute in their secondary.

The question is do the Saints feel there is a better option available in free agency, or that they can find a corner in the draft in round three or later that will immediately be better than Samuel?

It also seems fitting that the Saints sixth round pick, a pick they received from the Dolphins as part of the Reggie Bush trade, be used to bring in an impact player like Samuel.

Samuel has amassed 367 tackles, 45 interceptions, and 123 pass deflections since entering the league with the Patriots in 2003.  His current contract schedules him to make $10-million in 2012.