Nov 2, 2013; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Clemson Tigers defensive end Vic Beasley (3) participates in warm ups prior to the Tigers game against the Virginia Cavaliers at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Over the next month or so until the NFL Scouting Combine arrives on Feb. 20, we’re going to analyze the rookie class of 2015. After an appalling 7-9 performance in 2014, one thing became apparent — the New Orleans Saints have some major holes to fill on both sides of the football.
In my opinion, the biggest offseason urgency for head Coach Sean Payton and company will be to address the cornerback position, but that will likely be the goal once the free agent market opens up for business on March 10.
Snagging an edge pass rusher is the expected scenario in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, and after ESPN’s Mel Kiper, who is not at all times accurate with his predictions, released his first mock draft Thursday morning, the Saints will be taking Clemson DE/OLB Vic Beasley at No. 13.
You can see what Mel had to say in a piece published this morning by John Hendrix, our excellent managing editor here at Who Dat Dish.
Beasley is certainly an intriguing prospect, consistently performing at the highest of levels during his time as a Tiger at Clemson. After finishing his junior year in 2013 with an ACC-leading 13 sacks, the Georgia native received a second-round draft grade.
Sep 27, 2014; Clemson, SC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Marquise Williams (12) is brought down by Clemson Tigers defensive end Vic Beasley (3) during the second quarter at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports However, he returned for his senior season and followed up with 11.5 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss during the regular season. His success earned him the title ACC Defensive Player of the Year by the media and also helped Clemson rank No. 1 in total defense in the nation.
At 6-foot-2 and 235 pounds, the Bednarik Award (college defensive player of the year) and Lombardi Award (best college football lineman or linebacker) finalist is a bit smaller than scouts and coaches prefer, but his strength and performance certainly overshadow his size . Plus, his frame has plenty of room for filling out and growing bigger.
He may have more burst than any pass rusher in the 2015 class, and due to his broad shoulders and long arms, Beasley is also one of the most powerful of all the incoming rookies.
Of course, with strengths do come weaknesses, and stopping the run seems to be the only obstacle in the way of Beasley becoming a complete player. However, that’s what coaches and trainers are for. The bad angles on runners and hold ups against blockers are something that can be worked on both on the practice field and in the weight room.
The Saints are in the market for a force off the edge that creates big plays caused by disturbance in the backfield — Beasley is without question the guy to fill that void. Keep an eye on the Clemson standout next month, he could very well be dressed out in black and gold when the 2015 NFL season kicks off next fall.