It’s almost that time of year, when owners, coaches, general managers, and the rest of the front office lock themselves in a room and heavily debate which players to draft to improve the team. This room is called the “War Room” for a reason. Everyone in this room is heavily opinionated and has become attached to a prospect that they don’t believe the team can do without.
In this segment, we will put ourselves in the war room and go over the picks we believe teams need to make when they’re on the clock. We’ll cover all 32 teams, but today’s segment is dedicated to the: New Orleans Saints.
The Saints don’t have any picks in the 4th, 5th, or 6th round. They’ll have to pick wisely and fill some huge voids, because they have over 30 free agents this offseason. The Saints biggest need is at the defensive end position. They have to get more of a pass rush in 2011 and right now they have Will Smith, Alex Brown, and Junior Galette under contract.
New Orleans could look to draft an outside linebacker to improve a position that currently doesn’t have a star or they could draft a middle linebacker and chose to move Jonathan Vilma to the outside. Strong safety is a position of dire need. Currently they don’t have any strong safeties under contract. It would benefit them to find a safety that can play the rush but also has the ability to attack the ball. The Saints are at their best when they force turnovers and they know how to score on defense.
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Drew Brees received great play from his guards last year but would be ecstatic if there was an upgrade at the offensive tackle position. They could also look at drafting some depth at center. Brees doesn’t have an elite receiver. Colston is very good but he doesn’t deserve to be mentioned as top 10 caliber. Devery Henderson, Robert Meachem, Adrian Arrington and Lance Moore (free agent) all benefit from playing with Brees, not the other way around. The Saints could do Brees a favor and get him a receiver with some big play potential.
New Orleans Saints Mock Draft
Round 1 Pick #24: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue – The Saints have to pressure the quarterback a lot better this season. When they won the Super Bowl, their defense was forcing turnovers and scoring almost every game. Kerrigan has perfected the sack / strip move. He isn’t just happy with getting to the quarterback and taking him down, he’ll go after the ball, every time.
Round 2 Pick #56: Martez Wilson, MLB, Illinois - Jonathan Vilma will be able to kick outside and allow Wilson to step into the middle. Wilson will have to attack the ball more and become physical at the next level. He has good size but can be seen waiting for the action to come to him.
Round 3 Pick #72: DeAndre McDaniel, SS, Clemson – McDaniel is physical enough to step down in the box and help against the run but he also is a ball hawk, which is proven in his stats for 2009, where he was the only player in college football that year with at least 8 interceptions and 100 tackles. He can get abused over the top though (see Leonard Hankerson tape).
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Round 3 Pick #88: Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy – Peyton Manning gets all of the recognition for making his receivers play at a higher level. But, fact of the matter is, Brees does this same thing. It’s time that New Orleans gives Brees a play making receiver that can take a slant the distance, cause misdirection with the reverse, keeps the safeties true for the go route, and strikes fear in the return game. Jernigan can do all aspects of that.
Round 7 Pick #226: Kyle Hix, OT, Texas – Unless the Saints were able to trade back in the draft with one of their earlier picks, they’ll have a long wait on day 3 of the draft. They actually get to sleep in that morning, because they won’t pick in the 4th-6th rounds. When they do pop back up on the clock, they’ll need to fill a few other holes. Offensive tackle is a position they’ll look to address. Kyle Hix was considered a possible 2nd round pick heading into the 2010 season. He didn’t have the most stellar season but a team could look to coach him up to his ability.
Round 7 Pick #243: Josh Gatlin, CB, North Dakota State - You can’t have too many cornerbacks on your team. Teams usually will look to find a diamond in the rough in the late rounds, at the cornerback positions. The Saints could hope to take a small school guy like Gatlin and see if he can develop in to a nickel back. Gatlin has great measurables at 6’1 200 pounds and runs in the high 4.3s with a 35″ vertical to go along with it.
That’s how it played out in our Mock of the New Orleans Saints “War Room”