All posts by Pierce W. Huff

Advocate sportswriter

An early look at the Saints in early mock NFL drafts

The Super Bowl is over. There are no more games to dissect. The next big event on the NFL calendar is the NFL Draft, which is still months away.

But with little else to focus on, the time has come to start taking a hard look at draft prospects and getting familiar with the players experts are mocking to your favorite team

Chances are, many of these projections are going to look silly once we get on the other side of the combine and free agency. But, hey, this is all the football news that is really out there right now.

For the Saints, it looks like most expect the team to select a defensive player in the first round, which makes a lot of sense. Rob Ryan’s unit needs help. Badly.

Here’s a look at the first round of mock draft to hit the internet:

SB Nation’s Dan Kadar (
Pick: Bud Dupree, DE/OLB, Kentucky

Comment: The future of Junior Galette in New Orleans is questionable, and the pass rush beyond him is questionable. Dupree has enough power to stick at end and the athleticism to play linebacker if needed.’s Charlie Campbell (

Pick: Vic Beasley, DE/OLB, Clemson

Comment: The Saints had major defensive issues this past season. Some of their players couldn’t tackle whatsoever. They’ll almost certainly take the best defensive player available.

NFL Draft Scout’s Dane Brugler (

Pick: Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa

Comment: While the Saints don’t normally use first-round picks on offensive linemen, the franchise needs to keep Drew Brees healthy as his career winds down. Scherff could step in from day one if either Ben Grubbs or Jahri Evans doesn’t return to New Orleans next season and also kick out and help at tackle if needed.

RotoWorld’s Josh Norris (

Pick: Dupree

Comment: Dupree is another tremendous athlete who has lined up on the line of scrimmage and off of it. He struggles to turn the corner, which might be a bit nitpicky, although it limits the upfield disruptions he can finish.

NFL Draft Scout’s Rob Rang (

Pick: Dupree

Comment: With Junior Galette (10 sacks) and Cameron Jordan (7.5) recording more than half of the team’s 34 sacks in 2014, the Saints are among the more predictable defenses in the league. That’s counter to defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s philosophies. Dupree, who led all SEC defensive linemen with 74 tackles in 2014 and is the conference’s reigning career sack leader with 24.5, is long, instinctive and closes in a flash.

Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller (

Pick: Dupree

Comment: Alvin “Bud” Dupree is a powerhouse off the edge. He’s long and powerful at the point of attack and has the first-step speed to make an impact off the ball. He will struggle with balance at times but has the tools to be very, very good if unleashed to attack the edge.’s Daniel Jeremiah (

Pick: Arik Armstead, DT, Oregon

Comment: He would perfectly complement Junior Galette and Cam Jordan.’s Bucky Brooks (

Pick: Dante Fowler, Florida, OLB/DE

Comment: Rob Ryan could tap into Fowler’s versatility as an edge rusher to help solve the Saints’ defensive woes.

Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke (

Pick: Fowler

Comment: Fowler will wind up a favorite of many ahead of the draft. He brings non-stop effort along with a full repertoire of moves off the edge.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper (

Pick: Beasley

Comment: I saw him as a potential top-15 pick in last year’s draft, and he came back to school and was just as productive, which is saying a lot given the attention paid to him in game planning.

– By Nick Underhill

This Saints game ball is for Bailey

The pink “B” on the jacket and visor of Saints coach Sean Payton was more than just a fashion statement, it was the symbolization of a promise to a special girl and support for everyone who battles cancer.

Bailey Leon, an 11-year-old girl, has been battling cancer at the Ochsner Hospital in New Orleans and is a huge fan of the black and gold and her team’s coach. Bailey and Payton have talked a few times and have developed a friendship.

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton walks the sidelines during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago BearsMonday, Dec. 15, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton walks the sidelines during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago BearsMonday, Dec. 15, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

The last time Payton met Bailey was on Saturday when he promised her a game ball from the team’s game at the Chicago Bears on Monday.

Thanks to one of its best games of season, Payton will not only keep his promise with a game ball from a win that put the Saints in sole possession of first place in the NFC South, but he will make a special girl happy.