The New Orleans Saints look to keep momentum heading into day two of the NFL Draft. They’ll have three selections at their disposal, and should continue retooling their roster with a host of available prospects still on the board.
Current day selections:
- 2nd Round – 44th Overall
- 3rd Round – 75th Overall
- 3rd Round – 78th Overall (acquired from Miami)
- 1st Round, 13th Overall: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
- 1st Round, 31st Overall: Stephone Anthony, ILB, Clemson
So, with the team addressing some glaring needs by selecting an inside linebacker and offensive lineman, who are some potential second day adds for the New Orleans Saints? Let’s take a look at some of my personal favorites.
Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA
The Saints got their ‘Mike’ inside linebacker with Stephone Anthony, so what about getting their ‘Will’ on day two for the next several years? I know the addition of Stephone Anthony already brings questions into what the future holds for David Hawthorne, but the fact remains that Dannell Ellerbe is coming off of a hip injury that sidelined him for the entire 2014 season. Behind these two are Kyle Knox, Ramon Humber, and Jerry Franklin. If you’re telling me the future of the Saints linebacking corps would be Eric Kendricks and Stephone Anthony anchoring the middle, then I’m all in.
Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State
Devin Smith is a strong big-play threat for any team looking at him, and he can really stretch the field. Think of him as a version of DeSean Jackson or Mike Wallace. He’s very fast, finishing out the combine with a 4.42 40-yard dash time. Needless to say, he’s a burner. Smith caught 33 balls in his Senior year, and nearly 55 percent of those were over 25 yards. He finished out averaging 28.2 yards per catch. As an added bonus, he filled in adequately on special teams for Ohio State as the team’s gunner. As an added bonus, he’s previously visited with the New Orleans Saints, something that really plays to his favor.
Clive Walford, TE, Miami
Clive Walford is a strong blocking tight end who exhibits a physical style of play. Call it a ‘chip’ if you will. Walford gets off the snap with burst and ease. He’s not afraid to go over the middle, and can corral catches in traffic. You could very well be staring at a replacement for Jimmy Graham. Yes, the Saints do have Josh Hill and Benjamin Watson as their active tight ends heading into 2015. Potential concerns exist with his hands, but in a very weak tight end group, him and Maxx Williams figure to be the best available, and they’re both still on the board.
Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri
Off the field issues tend to hound Green-Beckham on the surface, but the fact remains that DGB has gifts of size, speed, and strength. He’s one of the tallest wide receiver prospects in this draft at 6’5″, and if we’ve learned anything from where the NFL’s direction is heading, tall receivers can be a true gift. There’s tremendous upside with Green-Beckham, and a chance for him to really thrive with the right pairing. New Orleans could be one of those right pairings. Teams that have met with DGB have generally liked him, and he hasn’t done anything in his visits to sway teams. I understand that his character doesn’t necessarily fit in line with what the New Orleans Saints preached on improving during the offseason, but if Payton can surround DGB with the right injection of players, then I see this working out.
Ali Marpet, OG, Hobart
Marpet did not allow a single sack in 2014, which is quite intriguing. He’s been projected as high as the second round, and certainly carries the part of a premier offensive lineman in the league. He could easily be a ‘boom or bust’, but I’d like to think he’s more of a boom. If you’re still not sold on the thought of Tim Lelito or Senio Kelemete taking the starting reins at guard, or Zach Strief moving over, here’s a great guy to challenge them. Hobart’s frame of 6’4″, 307 pounds could be used in a variety ways for the Saints. Generally speaking, small schools have worked out well for the Saints in the past. Marpet has the potential to threaten for playtime with whichever team chooses to draft him.
Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn
Coates fell victim to a run first attack at Auburn in 2012, but exploded in 2013. After only hauling in six receptions as a Freshman in 2012, Coates would finish 2013 with 42 receptions for 902 yards, including 7 touchdowns. He didn’t have nearly the encore performance in 2014, but lit up Alabama for 206 yards and 2 scores in that wacky 55-44 shootout on November 29th. Coates has size and speed, displaying ability to fend off press coverage to continue on his route. He can excel underneath. The added bonus with Coates is getting a player who can block. With Sean Payton’s offense, that’s always a strong trait to look for. Having the opportunity to secure future targets for years to come is rare, and the Saints could really take advantage with the deep receiver class. Coates is not a guarantee to fall far, and is quickly seeing his stock rise.
On the defensive side, there’s plenty of options out there for day two:
- Hau’oli Kikaha, DE/OLB, Washington
- Eli Harold, DE/OLB, Virginia
- Kwon Alexander, DE/OLB, LSU
- Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska
- Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
- Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma
Who would you like to see the Saints draft on day two? What positions do you feel are best suited for Sean Payton and company?