With only one week left until the much awaited NFL Draft Day i think it's a good time to list some picks.
There are many on this site more knowledgeable than me, especially when it comes to the college side of the sport, but i have done a lot of research on the draft over the last few weeks and using the info i have gleaned from the usual places, including the writers and fans on this site, here are the players i think might be good selections for us come May 8th.
I see our priorities as, in order, WR, OLB/DE, CB, C, OT/G, ILB, S.
Due to it being such a deep draft and there being so many good options out there, and also in case my pick is gone, i have listed some alternative players along with my main pick, for each round:
Round 1: Marqise Lee (Wide Receiver - USC)
When the mock drafts first started being put out there earlier in the year Lee was rated by most as the no.2 receiver, behind only Sammy Watkins. Quite a few analysts are now mocking him to the Saints since his ranking has dropped down from a mid-1st to a lower-1st round pick.
He had somewhat of a down season in 2013 but his overall college stats are just as good as those of Watkins.
Alternatives: Ryan Shazier (OLB - Ohio State), Kony Ealy (DE/OLB - Missouri), Brandin Cooks (WR - Oregon State), Dee Ford (DE/OLB - Auburn), Kyle Fuller (CB - Virginia Tech ), Bradley Roby (CB - Ohio State).
( I would also be happy with Odell Beckham (WR) or CJ Mosley (ILB) but think it's unlikely they'll be available).
Round 2: Stanley Jean-Baptiste (Cornerback - Nebraska)
I was gonna go OLB here and wanted this pick in the 3rd round originally but Baptiste has risen up the rankings and there is quite a lot of buzz around him. I like what i have seen on film and also appealing is the fact that he is 6' 3" and almost 220lbs. I think he will be much sought after in this draft and we may be lucky to get him at the end of the 2nd. For me it came down to a choice here between Baptiste and Pierre Desir, who is nearly as tall and is said by some to be more pro ready. I prefer the film of Baptiste though, and the fact that he is 2" taller and 20lbs heavier. They had almost identical 40 times.
Alternatives: Pierre Desir (CB - Lindenwood), Jeremiah Attaochu (OLB - Georgia Tech), Donte Moncrief (WR - Mississippi), Cody Latimer (WR - Indiana), Kyle Van Noy (OLB - BYU), Keith McGill (CB - Utah), Marcus Smith (DE/OLB - Louisville), Martavis Bryant (WR - Clemson), Phillip Gaines (CB - Rice).
Round 3: Carl Bradford (Outside Linebacker - Arizona State)
Pass rush is my second or third biggest need so seen as i went CB in the 2nd round i feel the need to go OLB here. I first read about him from one of the posters on this site (russty maybe?) and have heard some buzz about him from other areas, although i admit i don't know a lot about him. He seems like he would be one of the best players at the position available for our 3rd rounder.
Alternatives: Jarvis Landry (WR - LSU), Trent Murphy (DE/OLB - Stanford), Jalen Watkins (CB - Florida), Jared Abbrederis (WR - Wisconsin), Dri Archer (WR - Kent State), Marcus Martin (C - Southern Cal), Jordan Tripp (OLB - Montana)
Round 4: Travis Swanson (Center - Arkansas)
Center is one of our biggest needs, even if we do bring Jon Goodwin back, but even the best at this position are being mocked no earlier than late-round 2. It wouldn't bother me too much if we went center in rd 3 but i don't think we should take one in our first two picks.
Both Mike Mayock and draftscout.com have Swanson ranked as the no.3 center in the draft and draftscout predicts he will go in rounds 3-4. He's 6'5"and 312lbs, so would take a lot of shifting. Hopefully he will still be there by the time we pick. If not, alternatives are Gabe Ikard or Bryan Stork, though Stork is predicted to go later, anywhere between rounds 5-7.
Alternatives: Gabe Ikard (Center - Oklahoma), Dri Archer (WR - Kent State), Walt Aikens ( CB - Liberty), David Yankey (OG - Stanford), Jack Mewhort (OT - Ohio Sate), Kevin Norwood (WR - Alabama), Aaron Murray (QB - Georgia).
Round 5 (1st Pick): John Brown (Wide Receiver - Pittsburg State)
I first saw his name on an NFL.com scouting report about a month ago, which mentioned that the Saints had been to take a look at him at his pro day. I think he could be a nice late round pick for us, with his 4:34, 40 yard dash speed. He is small for the position though, at 5' 10" and 179lbs. Some may think we are ok for speedsters, with Kenny Stills and Joe Morgan, but i think we can always use the depth.
Alternatives: Devon Kennard (OLB - USC), Lamin Barrow (ILB - LSU), Seantrel Henderson (OT - Miami), EJ Gaines (CB - Missouri), Ross Cockrell (CB - Duke).
Round 5 (2nd Pick): Dontae Johnson (Cornerback - North Carolina State)
Johnson is 6' 2", 200lbs and ran a 4:41, 40 yard dash. I haven't seen any film of him so am mainly just going off his stats and his round projection here.
Alternatives: Bryan Stork (C - Utah State), Colt Lyerla (TE - Oregon), Aaron Lynch (DE - South Florida ), Jaylen Saunders (WR - Oklahoma ), Marqueston Huff (FS - Wyoming)
Round 6: D'Anthony Thomas (Running Back - Oregon)
Plenty of people have been mocking this guy for our 6th rounder, using the logic that we need a replacement for Darren Sproles and that he fits the bill. I'm not sure we are going to be headed in that regular screen game direction as much next season, with a power running game more likely to be heavily utilized, and, while i don't see running back as a major need, i think Thomas is a good value pick here and it's always good to have extra weapons on offense. Plus, that other Thomas, Pierre, might not be around much longer.
Alternatives: Dontae Johnson (CB North Carolina State), Kevin Pierre-Louis (OLB - Boston College), Vinnie Susseri (SS - Alabama), Avery Williamson (ILB - Kentucky).
So, them's my picks. What do you think and what are your suggestions?