On this lovely consumer holiday, I figured I'd share the love and pop my cherry here with one of those mockular devices for the upcoming selection process in April.
I've done a couple of these so far this offseason. In the first one, I had the New Orleans Saints going with Eric Fisher, the left tackle out of Central Michigan, and got berated for it at first. But now it seems everyone is on that bandwagon.
Too little, too late on that dream as Fisher has vaulted himself into the Top 5-ish with a stellar Senior Bowl week.
The other one had Dion Jordan, a rush linebacker from Oregon, as the Saints first selection. That is still a very good possibility. I love his versatility but, with a good combine, he could vault ahead of New Orleans' pick in the first round.
Let's get into this and see where the chips fall.
Alex Okafor, DE/OLB, Texas
Some "experts" might not consider him a good prospect for a 3-4 base defense, but I bet those are the same people that thought Jamracus Russel was worth the first overall pick. The games that I have watched of Okafor have been impressive. He is flawless as a pass rusher, but could stand to use his hands a little more, especially when guys are at his ankles. He played in a 4-3 at Texas, but he didn't just stay with his hand in the dirt.
On more than a few occasions, Okafor was standing up or dropping back into coverage. He's not going to blow people away with his coverage skills, but, when he is standing up to rush, he embarrasses left tackles and blows right past them. Having him in mind could allow Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis to save money in free agency on expensive OLB's.
I see you, Roger.
Brandon Williams, NT, Missouri Southern St.
Every mock I do from now until the draft arrives, I will have Williams as the Saints third round pick. The only reason he is not higher on draft boards is because of the lack of quality competition he was against. That should have been put to rest with his impressive Senior Bowl week where he made Braxston Cave, amongst others, his personal turnstile.
Williams is a cupcake over 340 pounds, but don't let that massive frame fool you. He is definitely not a glacier in the middle of the defensive line. The athleticism that he has is mind-boggling for a man of his weight, but he can "get thin" and get to the quarterback when he's not eating up space to keep the ILB's free to roam without worrying about interior lineman.
D.J. Swearinger, S, South Carolina
Hopefully, Who Dat Nation won't have to deal with the hemorrhoid that is Roman Harper for much longer. Maybe Gregg Williams aka "Triple Snitch" can get Tennessee to trade for him. Regardless, I don't see Harper in a Saints uniform come September.
Swearinger is a guy who gets lost in the fray amongst a safety class that is one of the deepest in years. He brings the versatility to play either the free or strong safety in Rob Ryan's defense and could excel at either. Unlike Harper, he won't be a liability in coverage, but, similar to Harper, he packs a wallop when he puts his shoulder into you.
He is a "Rob Ryan-type" of safety with his aggressive playmaking ability and would fit nicely alongside Malcolm Jenkins.
David Quessenberry, OT, San Jose St.
Quessenberry showed that he could hold his own against a better quality of opponent at the Senior Bowl. He is being considered for a move to guard at the next level, but he's a little light for that position in my eyes. On the other hand, he would be great at right tackle.
I know what you're thinking. The Saints need a left tackle, not a right, but that position will be Charles Brown's to lose with Marcel Jones also being considered there. Quessenberry could start from Day 1 if given the chance. Yea, I said that about a fifth round nobody, but he won't be a "nobody" soon.
Terrence Brown, CB, Stanford
Brown isn't on many people's radars, but he is on mine. The only reason he is on mine is because I just so happened to be watching tape on Stanford's defense, primarily for Chase Thomas, and Brown kept standing out. There isn't much to go on about this kid anywhere, and that makes me think he is definitely on the Saints radar.
Loomis loves drafting players in later rounds that make Who Dat Nation say, "Huh?" and Brown is just that guy. He's great in the run game and sticks with his man in coverage well. The only knock on him might be speed, but he looks like he plays faster than he will run in the coveted 40-yard dash. He's a bigger corner in the mold of Richard Sherman, who also came from Stanford and rose up out of nowhere.
Quanterus Smith, OLB, Western Kentucky or Meshak Williams, OLB, Kansas St.
The Saints probably will be parting ways with this pick because of the fantastic trade for Barrett Ruud before last season, but, if they do end up with a seventh rounder, Smith or Williams would be my picks. I'd love to grab both of them because they will be stars in this league. Smith would be picked higher if his season hadn't ended prematurely due to injury, but I have no idea why people are still sleeping on Williams.
The only other person making as many plays on Kansas St.'s defense last year was Arthur Brown, a first-round prospect. He is a one-trick pony in the fact that he is purely a pass rusher, but that trick is pretty damn good.
With Smith, just put on his tape against Alabama and tell me you wouldn't want that kid wearing the Black & Gold, injury or not.