Nov 15, 2013; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins linebacker Eric Kendricks (6) sacks Washington Huskies quarterback Keith Price (17) at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Most important position to draft in the first round: Linebacker. The Saints need to upgrade both the inside and the outside spots and build a fast defense on all three levels. Galette is a good player, but he needs a complement on the other side to lift some pressure off of his shoulders. Hawthorne and Ellerbe aren’t exactly the fastest linebackers in the NFL, so the Saints have to add a young and athletic player inside too.
Personal selections for both draft spots: I’m thinking pass rusher at #13, so basically whoever falls among Shane Ray, Vic Beasley, Randy Gregory and Alvin Dupree – although I believe they may pass on Gregory. Haralson is a solid player, but the Saints need an impact player opposite Junior Galette. At #31 I’d go cornerback: Marcus Peters, Ronald Darby or Kevin Johnson would be a good insurance in case either Keenan Lewis or Brandon Browner goes down, and they could get acclimatized to the NFL playing slot receivers in the meantime.
One player you don’t want the Saints drafting: Trae Waynes. I think it would be a reach to pick him 13th overall, I’m not completely sold on him as the best corner in this class, so I’d rather pass on him and focus on other defensive needs. Waynes has ideal speed and length and is very good in man-to-man, but tends to grab opponents a bit too much and may struggle against quick receivers at the next level.
Dream picks: #13 Shane Ray – not sure where Ray falls now, especially with Gregory likely out of top 15, but I’d love the Saints to pick him if he’s still available. #31 Eric Kendricks – if Kendricks is still on the board I’d rush to the podium and announce the pick myself if I were Sean Payton.
Next: Contributing Writer: Christy Lynch Chauvin