Jan 23, 2013; Mobile AL, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton addresses the media during his press conference following the Senior Bowl north squad practice a day after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (not pictured) reinstated New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton after his season long suspension. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
The New Orleans Saints hold the No. 15 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, but the team has to consider entertaining offers to move down while acquiring more picks in the process.
As you probably know, the Saints are without a second-round pick this season thanks to the now-infamous Bountygate. As you’re probably equally aware, the Saints are coming off the worst statistical defensive performance in NFL history and could use an upgrade at literally almost every position on the unit.
At this point adding as much young talent as possible is critical for the Saints, especially on the defensive side of the ball. With the scheme change Rob Ryan is implementing, there is a chance several areas perceived as strengths as of now could turn out to be weaknesses in a new scheme.
This year’s draft is weak overall, so the difference between the No. 15 pick and say, 45 isn’t all that different. New Orleans is smack dab in the middle of missing out on most elite prospects at positions of need.
For example, offensive tackle is a need. Luke Joeckel, Lane Johnson and Eric Fisher should all be gone by 15. Defensive tackle is a need. Star Lotulelei and Shariff Floyd will be gone. Cornerback? Dee Milliner won’t make it. Neither will safety Kenny Vaccaro.
The point is, after the cream-of-the-crop at each position is gone, things smooth out and the talent is equal for a few rounds.
So why not trade down, grab someone of similar talent as the team would have found at No. 15 and use another pick on a near-identical target?
It’s not like the Saints aren’t in the perfect position to trade down smack-dab in the middle of the round. Right near where the Saints pick is where teams with much later picks start to get antsy as they realize a player they didn’t think would stay on the board for so long is actually still around—then trading up doesn’t look so bad if you’re already a playoff-caliber team.
Trading down to near the end of the first so that another team can move up to select a player such as linebacker Jarvis Jones is smart, because a player of similar talent such as Barkevious Mingo will still be around. As an added bonus the team will gain an additional pick in the process.
An additional pick for moving down, even if it’s something as simple as another third-round selection, will allow the team to fill a hole on the miserable defensive unit.
Of course, the inverse to all this is simple—there’s a chance a name the team has been targeting all along at No. 15 actually makes it that far. Obviously in this case there would be no point in trading down.
Still, there’s something to be said for the fact the Saints can take a mediocre situation with a lack of picks and flip it into something special. At the very least, Sean Payton and Co. should be listening to all phone calls come draft day that have to deal with trading down in the first round—It’s a move that could accelerate the defensive revamp in a hurry and have the Saints back in the Super Bowl hunt.