In 2013, the Saints' defense took pride in getting to the passer and playing solid downfield coverage. Where they often got abused ended up being in defending the run. Including the playoffs, eight teams managed to gain over 100 yards of rushing on the Saints. Out of those games, the Saints ended up losing five of them. So if you can kind of see a trend, the teams that found success generally were able to do so through their running game.
A lot of this had to do with scheme. Even though the Saints weren't blitzing as much as they have in prior years, they were still trying to develop defensive success through sending more than four or more guys to the quarterback. As all Saints fans can remember, this largely was successful. However, multiple teams were able to take the Saints' scheme and throw it right back in their face.
To prevent this from happening again, the Saints need to start investing in some guys that can get to the ball carrier quickly and bring him down. While the Saints have an awkward position in the draft picking in the bottom quarter of the teams, there is certainly going to be some prospects that fall to them that they can take advantage of.
One of the players that fits the mold that I am preaching is Telvin Smith, an outside linebacker out of Florida State. He has largely gone unidentified by experts throughout the whole prospect period so he is currently pretty underrated. Smith is slated to go anywhere in the latter half of the second round, but there is always the possibility that hhe could trickle into the third. At 6'3" and 218 lbs., Smith's body type resembles that of a safety. However, you can without a doubt expect him to thicken up a little bit as he transitions in to the NFL.
Telvin's senior season at FSU was extremely solid as he was a primary leader of the Seminoles defense that would eventually be part of a BCS National Championship team. He tallied 83 total tackles, two sacks, and two interceptions, both of which were returned for touchdowns (68 and 79 yards respectively). Smith followed up his regular season performance with a good combine. He ran the second best 40-yard dash with a time of 4.52 seconds, had a vertical jump of 31 and a half inches, and had a broad jump of 9' 9".
If you take a look at this highlight video, Telvin doesn't look like much at first, but he quickly makes you want to watch more by proving that he is a sure-tackling thumper with a lot of energy. For a linebacker, his speed and acceleration is unreal. It looks like he can provide pretty good coverage as well.
I believe this is a guy that the Saints really need to invest in to bolster their front seven. His skill set is pretty impressive and he could take on a wide range of roles. To nab this guy, it would be wise to use their second round pick because he most likely won't be available too much longer after that. Trading up in to the top of the third round to get him is always an option as well.
Well, what do you guys think about the possibility of grabbing Telvin Smith?