Sep 20, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies defensive lineman Danny Shelton (55) sacks Georgia State Panthers quarterback Nick Arbuckle (4) during the third quarter at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Most important position to draft in the first round: Nose Tackle is the most important position to draft. The Saints want to generate more upfront pressure against opposing quarterbacks and inconsistencies at the nose tackle position have been a major part of the problem.
Brodrick Bunkley hasn’t completed a full season in years and John Jenkins is a rotational player at this point. Akiem Hicks and Cam Jordan have flashed their talent but they get swallowed in double teams too often to be effective.
Could getting another edge rusher solve the problem? Maybe, but gut pressure affects Quarterbacks more than edge pressure and Shelton gives you an edge in run defense at the point of attack.
Shelton will command double teams and finally give the Saints the ability to generate four man pressure instead of having to throw a ton of guys at the Quarterback.
Whoever is drafted in the first round needs to be a difference maker for years to come. Getting a dominant nose tackle gives the Saints defense real teeth and gives Quarterbacks nightmares.
Personal selections for both draft spots: 13th overall: Danny Shelton; The reality in this draft is that the best of the pass rushing linebackers will no longer be available and the Saints will be forced to split the difference between character issues and talent.
They avoid it altogether and select Shelton who can stuff the run and be a presence in the middle of the field. After the Sedrick Ellis debacle, I understand nervousness taking a defensive tackle early.
Shelton has elite-level mobility, is very tough to move off his spot, and generates power at the point of attack. That is the trifecta when it comes to nose tackles, you just can’t go wrong with those boxes checked off.
He commands double teams which will make it easier for the Saints to pressure the quarterback especially when they only send four guys and leave everyone else in coverage.
31st overall: Eric Kendricks; The Saints need to get better at linebacker and recent mocks are saying that Kendricks may fall out of the first round altogether. Kendricks is versatile enough to be an inside backer or play outside backer in a 3-4 scheme.
He isn’t a powerful hitter like Denzel Perryman, but he is a sure tackler with very good instincts and rarely gets sucked into plays. One thing of note is that he is very disciplined when it comes to defending against the option.
He isn’t a blazer like Beasley but he has legitimate speed to cover sideline to sideline and does pretty well in pass coverage in the flat and even useful against some slot receivers.
I cannot mention enough how well Kendricks does when it comes to tackling; Saints fans won’t see arm tackles when it comes to him. He consistently wraps and drives the ball carrier to the ground.
One player you don’t want the Saints drafting: Any offensive linemen. It doesn’t matter who. The Saints have pressing needs on defense that need to be addressed on day one and there are plenty of value offensive linemen to be had on days two and three.
There are a range of thoughts on what the Saints have or don’t have in their offensive line. The unit isn’t so bad that they need first round talent. It isn’t so great that it shouldn’t warrant some attention throughout the draft.
Next: Contributing Writer: Jan-Hendrik Otto