Concerning yesterday’s game, it’ll only be about 2 to 3 more days of the media, as over reactive in nature as they are, putting up the sky is falling headlines. Skip Bayless will probably debate "if the saints are elite" for about 45 minutes by himself, and then Stephen A. Smith will say: "NOW SKIP, YOU KNOW I LOVE EACH AND EVERY SAINTS FOOTBALL PLAYER, I WENT TO EACH AND EVERYONE OF THEIR HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATIONS, AND I WAS EVEN THERE WHEN DREW BREES RECEIVED HIS FIRST KISS, I WAS HIDING IN THE BUSHES. BUTTT the Saints ARE NOT elite. And I’m sure you’ll see the words pedestrian, stout, aberrant, and "And Co." about 175 times. It’s really the only words sports writers like.
While the media is sorting out if the Saints are "whatever subjective, pointless word they decide upon", we could look ahead to the 2014 draft. I’ll start by saying I’m in no way an expert on the matter, but really just want to get a conversation going as I haven’t seen any mock drafts posted.
Now I understand it’s probably way too early to be posting a mock draft, but – well, yeah that’s a good point, I should probably be doing something else. Anyways, I want to see what you guys think about: areas of need and when each position should be addressed.
Anyways, here’s my first attempt at a 7-round mock draft.
Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State University
Jason Verrett, CB, Texas Christian
Kyle Van Noy, OLB, Brigham Young
Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Trent Murphy, DE, Stanford
Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami
James Hurst, OT, North Carolina
Adrian Hubbard, OLB, Alabama
Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Brandon Cooks, WR, Oregon State
E.J. Gaines, CB, Missouri
Christian Jones, ILB, Florida State
Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU
Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn
Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Georgia Tech
A.J. Johnson, ILB, Tennessee
Yawin Smallwood, ILB, Connecticut
Max Bullough, ILB, Michigan State
Gabe Ikard, C, Oklahoma
Scott Critchton, DE, Oregon State
David Fales, QB, San Jose State
Josh Huff, WR, Oregon
Antone Exum, CB, Virginia Tech
L’Damian Washington, WR, Missouri
Kareem Martin, DE, North Carolina
That one guy
I don’t know people in the 7th round.
OLB: I think this is one of our weaker units but, even without the draft, the unit should improve when Victor Butler comes back from injury. I like the idea of taking two OLB this draft, preferably making two in the first four picks. I think Shazier and Butler would be a great duo, and hopefully Ford would be able to make contributions as well. Another option would be to take double OLBs in the first and second rounds – taking Ryan Shazier and Adrian Hubbard. I also have Kareem Martin of North Carolina just because of his size at (6-5, 265). If last year is an any indication, Sean Payton likes to take chances in the later rounds and doesn’t mind taking athletes to develop them.
CB: In my opinion, Keenan Lewis has played exceptionally and Jabari Greer has performed decently as well. Once Greer went down with that nasty knee injury however, our CB depth was exposed. It seems Corey White has a lot of natural ability but some bad decision-making has haunted him through the season. Prior to Greer’s injury, I do think he was serviceable as nickel back. As the board shapes up now, it would probably be best to take a CB in either the first or third round. In the first, I like Jason Verrett of TCU as well as Darqueze Dennard who has contributed to Michigan State’s top tier defense. In the third, there is E.J. Gains who has been quickly ascending up the board in light of Missouri’s successful 2013 campaign, and Florida’s Louchiez Purifoy who could be an option as well.
OT: I am really confused about this position because it’s hard to determine if there will be an OT slide in the first round like last year. I think the best bet would be the second round where Seantrel Henderson or James Hurst (North Carolina) might be available. I think adding depth to the tackle position is never a bad thing when Drew Brees is under center so hopefully this position is addressed somewhere on the second day of the draft.
ILB: Though I think Lofton and Hawthorne have both played extremely well, it might not be a bad idea to add depth here as well. Max Bullough out of Michigan State would be a steal in the fifth round considering his essential role in a great Michigan State defense. An interesting thing to note is that no ILB are projected for the first round (outside of Shayne Skov at the tailend), so there is a lot of depth at the the position in the rounds 2-3. Christian Jones (FSU) or Yawin Smallwood (Connecticut) might also be good options in their respective rounds.
WR: Though a lot of WRs contribute, it seems that this position hasn’t put up the numbers like last year. Some of this might be due to Graham’s success and even bigger part due to injuries (Lance Moore, Joe Morgan). Kenny Stills is a pleasant surprise and hopefully he can continue his success in the long-term. I like Oregon’s Josh Huff in the 6th round as a value pick. I would love for L’Damian Washington to still be there as he could be a good end zone threat (6-4) with lots of upside; however, I think he will ascend to a second day pick by draft day. Though a wide receiver pick isn’t necessary, I like the idea of taking an athlete with lots of upside in the later rounds to compete with Nick Toon and Andy Tanner (Training Squad) for a position. This thinking might also be a reaction to the 7-point showing against Seattle yesterday, but we've had luck with late-round receivers in the past.
So, what do you guys think -- What are our areas of need going into the draft next year and when should we address them?