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2016 NFL Draft: Scores of Sentries

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There's a spoil of defensive riches in the first several rounds of the 2016 NFL Draft. Let's have a look at some of their stats.

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The Saints defense blew this past season. And the season before that. Pleasantly, we saw the emergence of several promising rookies, but Dennis Allen just won’t be able to get it done with the husk of Dannell Ellerbe. Nor has John Jenkins demonstrated much beyond being able to sort of just flail around in the middle of a pretty bad defensive line. Kevin Williams will be 36 when the season starts, and pass rusher Bobby Richardson ain’t.

Our secondary is a clusterfrick. Keenan Lewis should be back in 2016 and Delvin Breaux is good, our safeties will have to suffice for now (priority-wise), and pretty much the rest of the CBs on the roster are Kyle Wilson, dealing with injuries, or suffering from hayfoditamobia.

Despite his cap number, Drew Brees is practically a lock to return and field the Saints 2015 #2 ranked offense. Though I do expect there to be some moves made on the offensive line and perhaps to the WR corps, but investments need to continue to be made on the defensive side of the ball early and often if we expect to see meaningful change in 2016.

CBS has a running ranking of the 2016 NFL draft prospects and NFL.com published their list last week. There is a spoil of defensive talent to be had through the first several rounds, so opportunities are aplenty for the Saints to address some of their, ahem, deficiencies.

Below are the list of defensive players – specifically DE, DT, CB, OLB – slated to be selected in the first couple rounds according to CBS (used because they specifically project the round), along with some information that may help us, as a fan base, collectively decide who we’d like to see drafted but ultimately be like ‘wtf’ on draft day when Loomis selects running backs back-to-back in the first two rounds.

Stats are compiled from www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players. ~ = when first year of statistics for games played not specified, I estimated how many games they played that year based on their statistics.

Defensive ends

#1 Joey Bosa, Ohio State (6’5, 275)

  • Played 38 games in 3 seasons
  • 148 total tackles (51 TFL)/26 sacks/1 interception/5 FF
  • Consensus All-American 2014-2015 / 2014 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year

#2 Shaq Lawson, Clemson (6’3, 270)

  • Played 40 games in 3 seasons
  • 123 total tackles (45.5 TFL)/20 sacks/1 FF
  • Consensus All-American 2015

#3 DeForest Buckner, Oregon (6’7, 300)

  • Played 53 games in 4 seasons
  • 232 total tackles (36 TFL)/18 sacks/2 FF
  • 2015 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year

#4 Jonathan Bullard, Florida (6’3, 283)

  • Played ~48 games in 4 seasons
  • 175 total tackles (34 TFL)/12 sacks

#5 Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State (6’5, 275)

  • Played 39 games in 3 seasons
  • 133 total tackles (35.5 TFL)/26.5 sacks/5 FF
  • 2015 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year

#6 Kevin Dodd, Clemson (6’5, 275)

  • ~22 games played in 4 seasons
  • 87 total tackles (26.5 TFL)/12.5 sacks/1 FF

#7 Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State (6’5, 250)

  • ~51 games played in 4 seasons
  • 131 total tackles (44 TFL)/27 sacks/1 interception/4 FF

#8 Carl Nassib, Penn State (6’6, 258)

  • 22 games played in 3 seasons
  • 64 total tackles (19.5 TFL)/15.5 sacks/1 interception/7 FF - Nassib's last year: he had 46 tackles (24TFL) 17.5 sacks and 6 FF
  • 2015 Vince Lombardi Award Winner/2015 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year/2015 Consensus All-America/2015 Ronnie Lott Trophy/2015 Ted Hendricks Award

#9 Bronson Kaufusi, Brigham Young (6’8, 280)

  • ~47 games played in 4 seasons
  • 169 total tackles (42.5 TFL)/25.5 sacks/2 interceptions/6 FF

#10 Shawn Oakman, Baylor (6’9, 275)

  • 36 games played in 3 seasons
  • 128 total tackles (46.5 TFL)/17.5 sacks/8 FF

Defensive Tackles

#1 A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama (6’4, 312)

  • 39 games played in 3 seasons
  • 133 total tackles (22 TFL)/9 sacks/1FF
  • 2015 Consensus All-America

#2 Andrew Billings, Baylor (6’2, 310)

  • 35 games played in 3 seasons
  • 107 total tackles (30 TFL)/8.5 sacks/2 FF
  • 2015 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year

#3 Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss (6’3, 296)

  • 29 games played in 3 seasons
  • 81 total tackles (16 TFL)/6 sacks

#4 Jarran Reed, Alabama (6’4, 313)

  • 28 games played in 2 seasons
  • 111 total tackles (11 TFL)/2 sacks

#5 Kenny Clark, UCLA (6’3, 310)

  • 37 games played in 3 seasons
  • 159 total tackles (20 TFL)/6.5 sacks/1 FF

#6 Austin Johnson, Penn State (6’4, 313)

  • 35 games played in 3 seasons
  • 154 total tackles (24 TFL)/8.5 sacks

#7 Sheldon Rankins, Rutgers (6’2, 303)

  • ~46 games played in 4 seasons
  • 133 total tackles (31.5 TFL)/18 sacks/2 interceptions/2 FF

#8 Adolphus Washington, Ohio State (6’4, 290)

  • ~47 games played in 4 seasons
  • 142 total tackles (25 TFL)/13.5 sacks/1 interception/3 FF

Cornerbacks

#1 Jalen Ramsey, Florida State (6’1, 202)

  • 41 games played in 3 seasons
  • 181 total tackles (15.5 TFL)/5 sacks/3 interceptions/22 passes defended/4 FF
  • 2015 Consensus All-American

#2 Mackensie Alexander, Clemson (5’10, 195)

  • 23 games played in 2 seasons
  • 44 total tackles (4 TFL)/11 passes defended

#3 Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida (5’11, 199)

  • 36 games played in 3 seasons
  • 121 total tackles (3 TFL)/10 interceptions/27 passes defended/1 FF
  • 2015 Consensus All-American

#4 Eli Apple, Ohio State (6’1, 200)

  • 28 games played in 2 seasons
  • 86 total tackles (7.5 TFL)/4 interceptions/17 passes defended/1 FF

#5 Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech (6’0, 196)

  • 29 games played in 3 seasons
  • 119 total tackles (8 TFL)/3.5 sacks/8 intercetions/25 passes defended/2 FF

#6 Will Redmond, Mississippi State (5’11, 186)

  • 26 games played in 3 seasons
  • 94 total tackles (5.5 TFL)/5 interceptions/8 passes defended

#7 William Jackson III, Houston (6’1, 185)

  • 24 games played in 2 seasons
  • 65 total tackles (1.5 TFL)/3 interceptions/15 passes defended/2 FF

#8 Rashard Robinson, LSU (6’3, 177)

  • 15 games played in 2 seasons
  • 30 total tackles (1.5 TFL/1 interception/3 passes defended

#9 Artie Burns, Miami (6’0, 193)

  • 34 games played in 3 seasons
  • 93 total tackles (3 TFL)/2 sacks/7 interceptions/14 passes defended/1 FF

Outside Linebackers

#1 Myles Jack, UCLA (6’1, 245)

  • 29 games played in 3 seasons
  • 178 total tackles (15 TFL)/1 sack/4 interceptions/19 passes defended/1 FF

#2 Darron Lee, Ohio State (6’2, 235)

  • 28 games played in 2 seasons
  • 146 total tackles (27 TFL)/11 sacks/3 interceptions/5 passes defended/3 FF

#3 Leonard Floyd, Georgia (6’3, 232)

  • 37 games played in 3 seasons
  • 182 total tackles (26.5 TFL)/17 sacks/4 passes defended/5 FF

#4 Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame (6’2, 235)

  • 38 games played in 3 seasons
  • 284 total tackles (23.5 TFL)/4.5 sacks/10 passes defended/3 FF
  • 2015 Consensus All-American

#5 Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky (6’3, 252)

  • ~20 games played in 2 seasons
  • 62 total tackles (15 TFL)/8.5 sacks/3 passes defended/1 FF

#6 Su’a Cravens, USC (6’1, 225)

  • 40 games played in 3 seasons
  • 207 total tackles (34.5 TFL)/10.5 sacks/9 interceptions/16 passes defended/4 FF

#7 Joshua Perry, Ohio State (6’4, 254)

  • ~40 games played in 4 seasons
  • 296 total tackles (18 TFL)/7.5 sacks/ 1 interception/8 passes defended/1 FF

#8 Jordan Jenkins, Georgia (6’3, 253)

  • ~50 games played in 4 seasons
  • 204 total tackles (39 TFL)/19 sacks/5 passes defended/6 FF

#9 Deion Jones, LSU (6’1, 227)

  • ~40 games played in 4 seasons
  • 152 total tackles (20 TFL)/5 sacks/2 interceptions/4 passes defended/1 FF

Thoughts?

Who (if only defensively) are the two guys you'd take in the first couple rounds of the draft? I like the idea of getting an interior defensive lineman (like A'Shawn Robinson) in the first round, and then spending our second rounder on a LB like Cravens (if available) or another Jenkins-Georgia product, this time named Jordan - though he may not be quite WILL which is a position the Saints are certainly going to have to address.

Carl Nassib had a gnarly 2015, Shawn Oakman has insane measurables but evidently is quite raw (yes, the 'r' word). Hargreaves (VHIII) is also apparently the best CB coming out since Patrick Peterson; Sign me up!

Do you see any offensive players we'd prioritize in the first couple rounds? Sure, BPA may be at least part of the strategy the first two rounds, I think it should be BDPA, personally. At this point I'm still indecisive myself as to what I'd like to see - much will depend on how free agency plays out and what these guys look like at the Combine.