With the 2015 NFL Draft just days away, the FanSided editors representing each team got together for a live mock draft. John Hendrix and I made our selections on behalf of the New Orleans Saints, sending a couple of defensive players to the Big Easy in the first round.
With the 13th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints select Alvin ‘Bud’ Dupree, outside linebacker, Kentucky.
Oct 11, 2014; Lexington, KY, USA; Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks offensive lineman Chase Regian (71) and Kentucky Wildcats defensive end Alvin Dupree (2) during the game at Commonwealth Stadium. Kentucky defeated Louisiana-Monroe 48-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
With guys like Vic Beasley and Danny Shelton off the board, the New Orleans Saints’ next best option is Alvin ‘Bud’ Dupree, a freakish athlete with a very high ceiling at the next level as one of the quickest and most explosive pass rushers in his class.
While the troubled Randy Gregory is still available, the talent just isn’t worth the risk, so adding Dupree is the right choice down on the bayou. New Orleans’ pass rush was absent for a majority of the season in 2014, leading to more time in the pocket, better reads and more accurate throws by opposing quarterbacks, which ultimately haunted the secondary.
Dupree is a big body (6-foot-4, 296 pounds), finding success as a pass rusher due to his extraordinary physical attributes and near-flawless technique. The Kentucky product offers flexibility, fluid athleticism and an explosive burst for teams in the market for a player who can both attack the quarterback and stop the run.
He knows how to locate the football and makes a number of plays by chasing down ball carriers. Dupree owns a strong work ethic, returning for his senior year to help improve Kentucky’s program and earn a respectable degree in Community and Leadership Development.
Dupree could potentially be a long-term option for the Saints, and due to his position flexibility between defensive end and outside linebacker, he’s a great fit for defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s scheme. Expect Bud Dupree to come in and compete immediately for a starting role. Akiem Hicks or Parys Haralson could be in trouble.
With the 31st pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints select Stephone Anthony, inside linebacker, Clemson.
Oct 25, 2014; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Tigers linebacker Stephone Anthony (42) sacks Syracuse Orange quarterback AJ Long (4) during the first quarter at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
Needs at 31 include a nose tackle, inside linebacker, wide receiver and maybe and offensive lineman and cornerback. The Anthony pick may be a bit of a stretch at 31, but with guys like Eric Kendricks and Eddie Goldman off the board, we felt this was the right decision. There will be more talent left at pick 44 for New Orleans to flirt with in the second round, but Anthony my not have made it there.
With Curtis Lofton out of the picture, an interior linebacker is a must. David Hawthorne likely isn’t capable of carrying the load, and question marks surround Dannell Ellerbe as he looks to bounce back from a season-ending hip injury.
Anthony has the size, speed, strength and pursuit to be a force in the middle and cover the field from sideline to sideline. He can play the run and the pass – both were areas of weakness in New Orleans a season ago.
He is not dominant in any areas, but he is a good all-around linebacker without any glaring weaknesses. The Clemson co-captain, first-team All-ACC selection and Butkus Award semifinalist has the physical tools and motor to come in and compete immediately for a starting role with a great chance of long-term success at the next level.
The real 2015 NFL Draft is set to kick off this Thursday, April 30 in Chicago.
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