I understand that it's way too early to be grading this years draft. Having never played a single down in the NFL there is absolutely nothing performance-wise to grade these players on. In fact, it probably takes about five years to adequately judge any draft class. But I do know what areas the Saints need to improve and I do have opinions on whether or not they've attempted to do so. Consider these grades more of a gauge on how well the Saints have done to address their greatest needs.
Malcolm Jenkins - Cornerback - Ohio State
Most of us saw this coming. We've been talking about Jenkins for the last month and it should be no surprise that the Saints grabbed him up when it was their turn to select. I applaud the team for making the right move and the obvious choice. Jenkins has been highly touted and there is already talk about him being an instant upgrade for this defense. Whether he winds up playing corner or safety the Saints officially have some depth now in their secondary. Way to go Payton and company.
Chip Vaughn - Safety - Wake Forest
I'll be honest with you, I had never even heard of this guy until yesterday. I think it's safe to say Vaughn wasn't on any of our pre-draft radars. But the pick certainly addresses the Saints needs in the secondary and adds even more depth where there once was none. Vaughn should also be able to contribute on special teams and we know how much Payton loves guys like that. Don't expect Chip to be an instant starter but with some mentoring from free agent acquisition and veteran safety Darren Sharper, he has the possibility of being a great pickup for the Saints.
Stanley Arnoux - Linebacker - Wake Forest
Arnoux is the second Wake Forest player taken by the Saints in this years draft and he's also the second player I had never really heard of. Though he's listed as an inside linebacker, the position currently held by Jonathan Vilma, the Saints will move him to the outside and have him compete there. Like Vaughn, his special teams contributions might be the difference maker. Regardless of how the selection of Arnoux actually plays out, I applaud the Saints for using this pick on a position of need.
Thomas Morstead - Punter - Southern Methodist University
Initially this pick had me, and many other Saints fans, all hot and bothered. Up until selecting Morstead the Saints were doing a great job of choosing players that addressed their needs. But after taking a deep breath and drinking a couple of 190 Octanes I now have a better understanding of the reasoning behind this selection. Often an overlooked position, Punters play an important role in the field position game and the Saints haven't had anything too great in the punting department for quite a while. Still, drafting a specialist could blow up in the Saints face...again. The question from here on out will be, "Was he worth it?" They gave up their 2010 fifth round pick as well as this years seventh round pick just to land this guy. There were also players left on the draft board with higher grades than Morestead. The pressure is on. I'm not sure about this one but I am feeling generous so I went with a grade of C. Glenn Pakulak...your days may be numbered.