After addressing their porous secondary on Thursday night, the New Orleans Saints could still go a number of different ways on Day 2 of the 2013 NFL Draft, and there are still plenty of options left at areas of need for them. They could go OLB, DL, WR or OT in rounds two or three.
Yes, I know that the Saints don't have a second round pick but if players drop like they did in the first round, Mickey Loomis could trade up to acquire a top talent. Who would that be? No one knows, but I'll try to narrow down who I think would be best to go after and who should join Kenny Vaccaro in NOLA.
These prospects will be separated into two groups: Trade-up (into the 2nd) options or stay-put (in 3rd) options.
Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State
Alex Okafor, OLB, Texas
Kawann Short, DL, Purdue
Watson and Armstead were ranked third and fourth on my Top 5 OT list, right behind Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel. Watson should have been a first rounder, but his drop is probably related to his age (24 might not seem old, but, to a scout, it could mean the difference between a first round grade or not.) and not the fact that he is raw. The Seminole will probably be the first OT off the board in the second round.
Or it could be Armstead, the athletic freak who blew away the Combine, who would fit into what the Saints like to do with their screen game and quick passing offense. I'd be happy with either.
If they don't trade up for an offensive tackle, it could be for a playmaker to add to their new front seven on defense. Okafor and Short are two players who the Saints front office have been very interested in during this draft process, and both could add pass-rushing specialists to either the OLB spot or DL. Many people think Okafor is just a 4-3 DE, but I see him as being great in a 3-4. Texas played him at 4-3 DE, 3-4 DE and 3-4 OLB in 2012.
Short is pretty good himself, and could play either at 5-tech or hold his own at nose tackle in Rob Ryan's style of the 3-4. He lived in the offensive backfield during the 2012 season, but didn't seem to test well during the draft process. His tape says it all, to me and it tells me that Short would be a steal in the second round.
Jamie Collins, OLB, Southern Miss
Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall
Brandon Williams, NT, Missouri Southern
Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M
If the Saints were to stay put and play the waiting game until the third round, Collins and Williams would be great picks to add to the defense. Collins is one of those athletic freaks at the combine who would be a nice fit next to the trio of Martez Wilson, Junior Galette and Victor Butler.
I never thought that Williams would last until the 75th pick for New Orleans, but the way nose tackles, and defensive tackles in general, dropped in the draft, I could see him lasting until then. Williams is my top-rated nose tackle on my board and his athleticism and motor would be a welcome addition next to Brodrick Bunkley.
There were only three wide receivers picked in the first round, but I see that position coming off the board rather quickly. Even with that mad dash in mind, the Saints should still be in position to pick a very good receiver at 75.
Both of these receivers have similar qualities. They are both fast (sub 4.4), very rarely drop balls (best hands in the draft) and have flown under the radar during the 2012 season. (Johnny Football overshadowed everyone at A&M.) Both have broken out during the testing process and have moved them into third-round discussions.
The only difference is that Dobson is four inches taller and more likely to out-jump someone for a pass and Swope, while not small at 6'0", is more of a slot receiver, but his speed allows you to be confident enough to line him up outside.
The Darkhorse Candidate
Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU
Mathieu has to be on any of these associated with Rob Ryan because, plain and simple, he loves the guy. He spent the most time with him and, according to the Honey Badger's Twitter feed a while back, would call him occasionally.
Is this an endorsement by me? Not really.
I think there are more pressing needs than a nickel corner on the Saints defense, and that's exactly what he would be in the NFL. A nickel corner. Go ahead and put him outside against Julio Jones or Vincent Jackson or Mike Williams. He will get torched. You have to put him close to the line, where he has help and can either roam or blitz inside.
That would be a waste of a pick. He also doesn't strike me as a player, character-wise, that doesn't agree with who Sean Payton drafts no matter how much Ryan bangs the table for him.
Saints Remaining Draft Picks
- Third-round: Pick 13 (75 overall)
- Fourth-round: Pick 12 (109 overall)
- Fifth-round: Pick 11 (144 overall)
- Sixth-round: Pick 15 (183 overall)