Jan 6, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; Auburn Tigers defensive end Dee Ford (30) celebrates during the second half of the 2014 BCS National Championship game against the Florida State Seminoles at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
By now you’ve probably started doing some homework, or you’ve at least been reading articles on potential players the New Orleans Saints are projected to take with the 27th pick in this year’s NFL Draft. If you haven’t read or seen much, let me supply you with a collective list of projections from noted experts/analysts of various sites. (Note: Those on the FanSided App may need to launch the WDD site to see the table)
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The vast majority of projections, especially recent ones, favor the Saints taking Auburn DE/OLB Dee Ford. Along with the New Orleans Saints, Ford has been associated with the Philadelphia Eagles (pick #22). Here’s a few reasons why the pick would make sense for the team:
Provides another edge rusher.
Whether Ford would fit in as an outside linebacker or defensive end, it is just appetizing to have a versatile weapon in Rob Ryan’s defense. The Saints do have question marks at the outside linebacker position aside from Junior Galette. Two players, Victor Butler and Parys Haralson, are both coming off of season ending injuries.
I don’t have to constantly remind you that depth at just about any position is a friend to the New Orleans Saints. However, those with poor memory, just remember that the team lost so many players last year before the season even started. That laundry list of players included: Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma (PUP), Victor Butler, Joe Morgan, Kenyon Coleman, A.J. Davis, and Chris Givens. During the season, the team lost Patrick Robinson, Jabari Greer, and Kenny Vaccaro.
Ford would not automatically be required to jump into a starting role, which seems contradictory to what the 2013 draft class did. That particular class had players starting for the team, and at one point or another, you heard their names making huge plays. While we won’t be sad about a replication of production this season, we are simply stating that it won’t be as prominent as the year before. Ford would have a chance to learn under Rob Ryan, and coupled with playing alongside Junior Galette and Cam Jordan, I’d gladly let Ford learn a thing or two from the sack duo.
Who Dat Dish’s 2014 New Orleans Saints Draft Needs: LB, WR, CB, OL
Why a linebacker?
I practically touched on this while talking about the Dee Ford selection. What more can be said about taking a linebacker? If a team is going to play a 3-4 style scheme on defense, then you are going to need those edge rushers, and having players who come from that scheme already, mainly the DE/OLB position, then it makes sense. Bring them in to the mix, and let Rob Ryan figure out where they are going.
Why a cornerback?
Despite the team adding veteran cornerback Champ Bailey, the Saints can benefit from a hungry shutdown corner that compliments the style of play from Keenan Lewis. The team looks at Champ Bailey as being that number two cornerback. However, when you look at the other two corners playing behind Lewis and Bailey, Patrick Robinson and Corey White, you cannot definitively say that these are the guys you’d feel comfortable with on the field when Bailey and/or Lewis are out of the picture for any reason.
Why a wide receiver?
I’m not nearly as high on selecting a wide receiver so early as many others are currently suggesting. I say that because I would want it to be the right receiver. I believe a selection of LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr. at pick #27 would be a very good choice, but I hate the thought of drafting USC’s Marqise Lee because of the injury history, and because USC players historically have not amounted to much in New Orleans (see my Biggest Draft Busts).
The Saints already have tons of players on the roster at wide receiver, but the problem seems to lie in the experience factor. That would be my main argument as to why the Saints shouldn’t have to automatically target a wide receiver with their first pick. By saying we need a rookie wide receiver to replace a wide receiver who hasn’t logged any actual games, but has been a part of training camp and has some existing chemistry with Drew Brees, sounds a bit contradictory to me.
Why an offensive lineman?
Look at it this way, Jahri Evans, Zach Strief, and Ben Grubbs are all in the 30 and over category. While each of them are still playing well (see the Pro-Bowl selections), the team has to have contingency plans. You also can’t forget that the New Orleans Saints style of offense might slightly look different than 2013, as the team has expressed more emphasis on running the football. Offensive linemen = Beef/Power.
Other Mock Draft Notes (so far)
- Who Dat Dish Staff Writer, Federico Ferrari, released his first mock draft, which had the Saints taking TCU cornerback Jason Verrett.
- In January, I was a part of a FanSided Mock Draft hosted by Factory of Sadness. In that mock draft, I was able to select Notre Dame offensive tackle Zack Martin at #27. Since that point, Martin has skyrocketed up multiple analyst mock drafts, so this likely wouldn’t be a realistic choice.
- I’ve only seen a very select few of mocks that have said the Saints would trade out of the first round. That mainly stems from the Times-Picayune’s Jeff Duncan. It’s not unlikely, but if the Saints have a player that addresses any of the needs the team is after, then they will take them.
The first round of the NFL Draft is set for May 8, and we’re sure to get more mock drafts before then. The mocks will change more as we get closer to draft day. I believe we can all agree on at least one thing for this draft. No matter who is selected, we secretly hope that the Saints can get another impact player (Kenny Vaccaro) from last year’s draft.
Who do you believe the Saints will target with their first round pick? Let us know below!
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