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2015 NFL Draft: A Look at the Saints' Consensus First Round Picks

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With the 2015 NFL Draft a mere 24 days away, every analyst is trying to predict who each team will pick. With two first round selections on April 30th, here are the players that most draft prognosticators expect New Orleans to take at 13 and 31.

Many draft pundits have the Saints selecting WR Dorial Green-Beckham (15) at 31.
Many draft pundits have the Saints selecting WR Dorial Green-Beckham (15) at 31.
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015 offseason has been like no other for the New Orleans Saints since head coach Sean Payton took the job in 2006. Wait, actually it has been somewhat similar to 2006. Back then, Payton as a rookie NFL head coach cleaned house, making shocking moves like trading established wide receiver Donte Stallworth and replacing him with a seventh-round draft selection from Hofstra University called Marques Colston. The rest like they say is history, as Colston has gone on to become the Saints franchise leader in touchdown (68) and in receptions (666).

In 2015, Payton has gone the same route, accumulating draft picks by trading tight end Jimmy Graham, left guard Ben Grubbs and wide receiver Kenny Stills, all players that were significant contributors to the New Orleans Saints for the past two years. As it stands, the Saints have nine draft picks this year. Interestingly, that is the most they've had since they selected eight players in the 2006 season, a class that produced the core group that won Super Bowl XLIV in Miami.

The most important of the nine picks in 2015 however, are the ones at 13 and 31. Not just simply because they're first round picks, that goes without saying. The main reason why these two picks are so crucial is the fact under Payton, the Saints have been unbelievably good at drafting late, yet they've been downright awful at drafting in the first round.

What? Do you need proof? Ok: 2006: Reggie Bush (meh). 2007: Robert Meachem (meh). 2008: Sedrick Ellis (Ugh). 2009: Malcolm Jenkins (Okay). 2010: Patrick "Where's the Ball" Robinson (Uuuuugh). 2011: Cam Jordan (Good), Mark Ingram (Good). 2013: Kenny Vaccaro (Good, but jury is still out). 2014: Brandin Cooks (Good, but jury is still out).

The sad truth here is that pretty much all of Payton's first round picks have been either average-to-good players or flat out bad players. That's not good, when you're supposedly picking blue-chippers that are supposed to be the cornerstone of your franchise.

So will we see a different story in 2015? Only time will tell. All we can do in the meantime is look at who most of the pundits have the Saints selecting at 13 and 31 in their recent mock drafts, and hope that these players, if they end up actually being picked by the Saints, will fare better than the ones New Orleans selected in first rounds before them.

CBSSports.com

Rob Rang

13: Trae Waynes CB, Michigan State.

31: Phillip Dorsett WR, Miami.

Will Brinson

13: Andrus Peat OT, Stanford.

31: Eddie Goldman DT, Florida State.

***

NFL.com

Bucky Brooks

13: Randy Gregory DE/OLB, Nebraska.

31: Dorial Green-Beckham WR, Missouri.

Lance Zierlein

13: Randy Gregory DE/OLB, Nebraska.

31: Jordan Phillips DT, Oklahoma.

Charles Davis

13: Alvin "Bud" Dupree DE/OLB, Kentucky.

31: Ereck Flowers OT, Miami.

Daniel Jeremiah

13: Alvin "Bud" Dupree DE/OLB, Kentucky.

31: Marcus Peters CB, Washington.

***

Si.com

Don Banks

13: Alvin "Bud" Dupree DE/OLB, Kentucky.

31: Maxx Williams TE, Minnesota.

Peter King

13: Randy Gregory DE/OLB, Nebraska.

31: Byron Jones CB, Connecticut. Traded to Bears for 39th pick (2n rd), 106th pick (4th rd) and 192nd pick (6th rd).

***

SB Nation

Dan Kadar

13: Jaelen Strong WR, Arizona State.

31: Eli Harold OLB, Virginia.

***

Bleacher Report

Curt Popejoy

13: Shane Ray DE/LB, Missouri.

31: Breshad Perriman WR, Central Florida.

Brent Sobleski

13: Randy Gregory DE/OLB, Nebraska.

31: Dorial Green-Beckham WR, Missouri.

***

ESPN

Todd McShay

13: Vic Beasley DE/OLB, Clemson.

31: Kevin Johnson CB, Wake Forest.

Mel Kiper Jr.

13: Brandon Scherff OT, Iowa.

31: Breshad Perriman WR, Central Florida.

***

Consensus Pick at 13: Randy Gregory.

It seems that despite his failed marijuana test, most draft experts expect the former Nebraska defensive end to fall to 13 and get selected by the New Orleans Saints. Personally, I'd be elated if Gregory fell to New Orleans. He's an excellent pass rusher in the mold of an Aldon Smith or a Barkevious Mingo and could strongly revitalize a Saints' pass rush that regressed in 2014.

***

Consensus Pick at 31: Dorial Green-Beckham.

The projections for the 31st pick are much more scattered. Interestingly, it's another player with character issues in college that narrowly takes the cake, in Missouri's former wide receiver. Tied with Green-Beckham is Central Florida wide receiver Breshad Perriman. What seems certain in any case is that most draft prognosticators expect the Saints to pick up a skill position offensive player at 31. Either DGB or Perriman would definitely be a welcome boost for New Orleans' depleted wide receiving corps.

***

Consensus "WTF" Pick at 13: Jaelen Strong.

If the Saints pick a wide receiver at 13, it better be Amari Cooper from Alabama. Other than Cooper, New Orleans would be making a big mistake picking up anything other than a pass rusher or an offensive lineman at this spot. I don't believe in the hype surrounding wide receiver Kevin White, for the simple reason that he hasn't been highly productive on a consistent basis throughout his college career. Jaelen Strong has had a good receiving career at Arizona State, but in my opinion, he'd be a massive reach at 13.

***

Consensus "WTF" Pick at 31: Kevin Johnson.

With all due respect to Todd McShay, the Saints have enough cornerbacks on their roster not to gamble on one in the first round of the draft, even if it's near the bottom of the round. Johnson was a stud at Wake Forest, but New Orleans could find good value for a cornerback from round three and later, while addressing more pressing needs at 31, most notably a pass catcher or an offensive lineman in case they select a pass rusher at 13.

So what say you Who Dat Nation? What do you think of these consensus picks?

The floor is yours!