The NFL Scouting Combine starts on Tuesday February 17th and runs through Monday February 23rd. Now we only have one first round pick and multiple positions of need, so I'll list Mike Mayock's top five rankings at our positions of need. For Mike Mayock's complete positional top 5 list go here.
After the dismal 2014 season it's apparent we have many needs on defense. Greatest needs are in the secondary and the pass rush. Also of concern is the protection of our $26,400,000 quarterback. Let's start off with defense.
Cornerbacks, we need them. Patrick Robinson is a free agent and may in fact be re-signed, but let's face facts. Patrick will never be a lockdown corner. He would be serviceable playing in the position he finished the season out as, a nickel-back. So Mike's top five are, starting with the one I listed here as my top pick:
Next we need a pass rusher. Now a pass rushing linebacker could be an option, particularly in a 3-4 defensive alignment so let's look at edge rushers which can be OLBs as well as DEs. Dave has already listed both Todd McShay's mock draft pick for the Saints here, as well as Mel Kiper's mock pick here. Both of whom chose Mike's top pick.
Let's take a look at Mayock's top 5 edge rushers:
Linebacker is another position of need as mentioned and particularly one who can cover. Other than an edge rushing linebacker, a good middle linebacker could be at top priority in the first round.
Mike's top 5 linebackers:
Next of concern are offensive linemen: We need to keep Drew Brees upright and provide him a pocket to step up into. If we want pre-2014 Drew to make the plays, and not so many boneheaded decisions, we have to provide both protection from the edge and a pocket to step up into. There aren't many in today's NFL who are better when he has time to survey the field and pick defenses apart. But like most QBs he is human. Pressure will cause him to make mistakes. Drew's not the tallest QB in the league, so he needs the time and protection to see the whole field.
It could be time to look to the future in regards to our aging guards, and so here are Mike's top 5 interior offensive linemen:
Mayock's top 5 outside offensive linemen:
Now only "there can be only one", in the first round that is, and not all of these listed may be first round candidates. I've listed the main positions of need I'll be watching during the combine, and you may have your own preferences, so feel free to expound in the comments and check out Mike Mayocks full list.