Earlier today I wrote about the potential benefits of moving out of the 13th pick and began to wonder how that might play out for the New Orleans Saints. So, with that in mind, I put together a mock draft that features a few trades.
Please note that this is a look at what I think the Saints should do in the draft if all the top edge rushers are gone, and not necessarily what I think they will do. No one knows how the draft will play out.
Round 1, Pick 13: Traded to Cincinnati Bengals
Round 1, Pick 21: DT Malcom Brown, Texas
What the Saints do with their first pick depends almost entirely on who is available when they come on the clock. In this projection all the top edge rushers — Florida’s Dante Fowler, Clemson’s Vic Beasley, Missouri’s Shane Ray, and Kentucky’s Bud Dupree — are gone.
The only one that remains is Nebraska’s Randy Gregory, and the Saints trade away the 13th pick so the Bengals can select him. Gregory is clearly one of the better prospects in this draft, but I’m not sure New Orleans will be willing to gamble on him due to character concerns. So, instead, it moves down in the first round to select Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown.
Perhaps 21 is too far of a drop. Maybe the Saints move back only a couple of spots and still select Brown. The point is they can drop down a little to get better value and additional selections.
This pick would help the Saints get a better inside push and solidify a run defense that was shaky at times last season.
Round 1, Pick 31: OLB/DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa, UCLA
With the top edge rushers gone, the Saints pick one up a little later in the first round by selecting Odighizuwa.
The 6-foot-3, 267-pounderfinished last season with 61 total tackles, 11.5 for a loss, and six sacks last season. He was also a top performer at the combine in the 40-yard dash (4.62 seconds), vertical (39 inches) and broad (127 inches) jumps, and the 20-yard shuttle (4.19 seconds).
Selecting him at this spot would give New Orleans more depth at the position and allow the Saints to their spots with personnel in passing and rushing situations.
Round 2, Pick 33: Trade up to select UCLA LB Eric Kendricks
New Orleans packages the 44th pick and the selection acquired in the Bengals trade to move up and select linebacker Eric Kendricks.
Kendricks was one of the more productive tacklers and possesses the ability to get to the sidelines. His presence would shore up a linebacker group that is in a state of transition following the release of Curtis Lofton.
And by moving up to select Kendricks, who is scheduled to visit with the Saints, New Orleans would pick up three potential starters within its first three picks.
Round 3, Pick 75: OL Jeremiah Poutasi, Utah
The Saints will likely move forward with Jahri Evans and Tim Lelito at guard, but the future must be considered, which is why Jeremiah Poutasi is the pick here.
The Utah product is still very raw and could benefit from better technique. He would be afforded time to his craft in New Orleans with the starting spots sewn up, while serving as depth at both guard and tackle.
Round 3, Pick 78: CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon
How many rookies can make the team next season?
There’s no guarantee that Ifo Ekpre-Olomu will be ready to contribute after suffering a knee injury in December. So, with plenty of picks, the Saints can afford to red shirt Ekpre-Olomu.
This could be the biggest value in the draft. If healthy, Ekpre-Olomu might have been the top cornerback in the draft. By taking him here, assuming he makes a full recovery, it would almost be like getting a first-round talent for 2016.
Round 5, Pick 148: WR Darren Waller, Georgia Tech
A 6-foot-6 receiver who clocked in at 4.46 seconds in the 40-yard dash? Darren Waller is the kind of guy who fits the profile of a Saints receiver.
He’s raw and will need to be coached up, but he knows how to use his size and can get down the field in a hurry.
Round 5, Pick 154: CB Lorenzo Doss, Tulane
The Saints picked up Kyle Wilson to cover the slot, but some competition could be used there. New Orleans takes Tulane’s Lorenzo Doss to compete for the job.