The New Orleans Saints enter the offseason with plenty of holes to fill. Particularly on defense.
Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis will do everything they can to fill those holes in free agency. It’s their M.O. Needs in free agency, then BPA in the draft. And until they’ve made their free agency moves, any mocks for the New Orleans Saints will be to a largely speculative.
Still, there’s a degree of anticipation possible. If you ask me, the Saints will go after a DE and an OG in free agency, and will likely make some depth moves at CB. If Nick Fairley walks, expect them to go after some DT depth. They may add a LB. They may add a RB.
And even if the Saints cover all their bases, it’s not hard to see the areas that they could use youth, potential, or depth. As the Saints have learned over the last few years, it never hurts to have too much CB depth. The same thing is true for the OL, although the Saints have thankfully avoided that lesson.
So while this mock draft, like all of them, is early and speculative, it’s something to think about. So let’s get started. For reference, I primarily used Walter Football’s big board.
With the 11th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints select…
You guessed it.
Along with DE Derek Barnett, Foster is easily the most popular pick to the Saints for the first round. For that reason alone I thought about looking elsewhere for my mock. After all, it’s more of a thought experiment than anything.
But I just couldn’t pass up on Foster.
The only knock on this pick is that he may not be available by the time the Saints take the podium. But the Alabama standout just underwent shoulder surgery, and that may knock his stock down just enough.
Of course, Foster is a rare talent at LB, and he’s slated to be fully healed by the start of minicamps. He’ll miss the Combine, but his tape speaks for itself. He may still not make it down to pick 11. The Bengals in particular are in the market for a MLB, and may pull the trigger on Foster with the 9th pick.
But if they don’t, then the Saints absolutely have to make the move. Foster has the tools to be the next Luke Keuchley.
There’s so much like about Foster, from his instincts to his rushing technique and his aggressiveness. But nothing pops like his athleticism. It’s through the roof. I mean through the roof. He’s stronger than most LBs you’ll see in the NFL already. And he’s faster than anyone that strong has any right to be.
And don’t let that remind you of Stephone Anthony. In the first place, Foster is likely more athletic than Anthony. But more importantly, he has the instincts to back it up. He has excellent play diagnostics, which makes it very difficult to lay a sound block on him. And here’s the kicker: he has excellent coverage skills.
The only knock on Foster as a prospect is his tackling technique. It’s not that he can’t make a tackle. He can. He hits harder than arguably any other prospect in the draft. At times it’s too hard. That’s the problem. He’s injured himself on a number of collisions and seems to throw caution to the wind when it comes to protecting his body. While that’s the sort of toughness you want to see in a player, you also want a first round pick that can stay on the field. But he can work on that in the NFL.
If the Saints get through this thing with Foster, he’d immediately be their projected starter at MLB. That would allow Craig Robertson to return to his Special Teams role, and for him to serve as a much-needed backup to Ellerbe should the injury bug strike again.