Jan 2, 2015; Tempe, AZ, USA; Washington Huskies defensive lineman Danny Shelton (55) against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the 2015 Cactus Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium. Oklahoma State defeated Washington 30-22. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Most important position to draft in the first round: A starting nose tackle. This crucial position opens up the rest of the defensive line for better play especially for a player who occupies a double team. Brodrick Bunkley is an older player and John Jenkins has been good at times, but there is a strong need to shore up the position with a good starter in the rotation who opens up the holes for linebackers. Believe we are going defensive in the first round, so my choice would be a nose tackle.
Personal selections for both draft spots: Pick #13 – Danny Shelton – Truly believe the Saints are lacking a young space eater in the middle who is a nasty player. I think Shelton will be there at 13 and the Saints take him. Compares to Vince Wilfork and Haloti Ngata. Tough to move. Natural wide-body which helps him to anchor. Very thick through the lower body. Coordinated and flexible despite his frame Light on his feet and plays with terrific effort in pursuit Likes to knock down passes Consistently gets his hands inside offensive linemen first. Durable and tenacious player. Typically doubled teamed.
Pick #31 – Torn here between cornerback and defensive end. Our roster is unknown at cornerback because there are new players we have not yet assessed. What about Stanley Jean Baptiste? Is he ready? Is Delvin Breaux ready to go? If Browner and Lewis hold down duties as the first team, can Dennis Allen improve the play of the other cornerbacks? We have so many corners, I think we go with a defensive end. And even though talks seem to be going well with Cameron Jordan, a plan for the future would help. I think Owamagbe Odighizuwa will be there at #31. Explosive out of stance. Wide array of pass rush moves. Powerful and quick hands at the end of long arms. Has an easy bend but a little stiff in the hips. Rare chase down speed. Has a passion for the game. Had two hip surgeries. Compares to Sam Acho and Everson Griffen.
(If I were going to hedge here and go cornerback, I think Marcus Peters may fall to late first round and after his reconciliation with Washington coaches, I think the character concerns may be ameliorated. The skill set is definitely there).
One player you don’t want the Saints drafting: Randy Gregory. He knew he was going to be tested at the combine and still choose to smoke dope. In my estimation, his lack of discipline and regard for the process as well as his future does not speak well about his ability to make mature decisions. I would not take in the first round given other players available.
If I could take any two players in the first round, I would take Leonard Williams and La’el Collins. Both are linemen, albeit on different sides of the ball. Williams is an obvious choice for the defensive side of the ball because he is as NFL ready as any defensive tackle will be on day one. As for Collins, if the Saints were not in a win now mode, he is the most complete offensive lineman there is on day one and a player you could build around for the future.
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