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 (http://www.sbnation.com/nfl-mock-draft/2015/2/2/7961661/2015-nfl-mock-draft-marcus-mariota-jameis-winston)
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.
WalterFootball.com’s Charlie Campbell (http://walterfootball.com/draft2015charlie_1.php)
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 (http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/mock-draft/expert/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 (http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/cfb/51990/344/norris-feb-2-mock-draft?pg=1)
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 (http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/mock-draft/expert/rob-rang)
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 (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2348680-2015-nfl-mock-draft-matt-millers-post-super-bowl-projections/page/14)
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.
NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah (http://www.nfl.com/draft/2015/mock-drafts/daniel-jeremiah/215603)
Pick: Arik Armstead, DT, Oregon
Comment: He would perfectly complement Junior Galette and Cam Jordan.
NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks (http://www.nfl.com/draft/2015/mock-drafts/bucky-brooks/215607)
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 (http://www.si.com/nfl/2015/01/13/2015-nfl-mock-draft-marcus-mariota-randy-gregory-leonard-williams)
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.
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