NFL Draft 2015: New Orleans Saints select Stephone Anthony with 31st pick


After Stanford OL Andrus Peat went to the Black and Gold at 13 overall, the New Orleans Saints have officially made their second and final pick of the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft at No. 31, selecting Clemson ILB Stephone Anthony.

After releasing Curtis Lofton, the interior was a giant need.  I don’t think David Hawthorne is capable of handling the load, and Dannell Ellerbe, who was acquired in the Kenny Stills trade with the Miami Dolphins, has a question mark surrounding him as he looks to bounce from a season-ending hip injury.  Myself and my co-editor John Hendrix took part in the FanSided editor mock draft, sending Anthony to the Saints at 31.

What what does Stephone Anthony bring to the the table?

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.


"2014: Permanent team co-captain … one of 15 semifinalists for the Butkus Award … First-Team All-ACC selection (media, coaches) … first-team All-ACC by Athlon, College Sports Madness, ESPN and Phil Steele … Senior Bowl invitee … had a team-high 90 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 11 quarterback pressures, one interception for eight yards, four pass breakups and two caused fumbles in 711 snaps over 13 games (12 starts) … had five tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss in 55 snaps at No. 12 Georgia on Aug. 30 … had five tackles and two tackles for loss in 16 snaps against SC State on Sept. 6; named team defensive player-of-the-game … had a team-high eight tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, two pass breakups and two quarterback pressures in 66 snaps at No. 1 Florida State on Sept. 20; named Bednarik Award Player-of-the-Week; named team co-defensive player-of-the-game … had a game-high 10 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss in 79 snaps against North Carolina on Sept. 27 … had seven tackles, 0.5 sacks, two pass breakups and a caused fumble in 42 snaps against NC State on Oct. 4 … had seven tackles and a team-high three quarterback pressures in 67 snaps against Louisville on Oct. 11 … had a team-high 10 tackles in 58 snaps at Boston College on Oct. 18; named team co-defensive player-of-the-game … had six tackles, one sack, an eight-yard interception return and a caused fumble in 62 snaps against Syracuse on Oct. 25; named ACC Co-Linebacker-of-the-Week; named team defensive player-of-the-game … had a team-tying-high nine tackles in 67 snaps at Wake Forest on Nov. 6 … had seven tackles in 63 snaps at No. 23 Georgia Tech on Nov. 15 … had a team-tying-high 10 tackles, one tackle for loss and two quarterback pressures in 59 snaps against Georgia State on Nov. 22 … had three tackles in 52 snaps against South Carolina on Nov. 29; named team co-defensive player-of-the-game … had three tackles and one tackle for loss in 25 snaps against No. 24 Oklahoma in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 29 … Bednarik Award Watch List member in the preseason … Butkus Award Watch List member in the preseason … Lombardi Award Watch List member in the preseason … Nagurski Trophy Watch List member in the preseason … No. 12 inside linebacker in the nation in the preseason by Lindy’s … preseason fourth-team All-American by Phil Steele … preseason First-Team All-ACC (media) … preseason first-team All-ACC by Athlon, ESPN, Phil Steele and Sporting News."

I am a bit surprised to see him go in the first round, especially before UCLA ILB Eric Kendricks, but Coach Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis obviously see something in Anthony that they like enough to draft him in the first — the talent is undeniable.  The Saints still have seven picks remaining — a pass rusher, interior lineman, wide receiver and cornerback are still needed down on the bayou.

Next: Saints 2015 Schedule

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