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Saints 2017 Mock Draft Roundup: Mel Kiper, Daniel Jeremiah, John Hendrix Draft SEC Defenders

With mock draft season in full swing, here’s a brief look at speculation from around the football media world.

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NCAA Football: Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl-Alabama vs Washington
Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Reuben Foster (10) lines up for a play during the first quarter in the 2016 CFP Semifinal against the Washington Huskies at the Georgia Dome. Credit: Jason Getz
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

We’re picking up speed on the long road to the 2017 NFL Draft (mark your calendars for April 27th through the 29th), and it seems like draft experts are publishing new speculation on draft results every day. I’ve collected a few recent prospects selected for the New Orleans Saints in a few notable mock drafts:

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama
Clemson Tigers wide receiver Mike Williams (7) runs the ball as Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Reuben Foster (10) defends during the second quarter in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Credit: Steve Mitchell
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Mel Kiper published his first mock draft of the 2017 offseason, which can be read here (ESPN Insider required). Kiper connected Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Reuben Foster to the Saints and gushed about the talented prospect’s versatility, seen in his size (6-foot-1, 240-pounds), tackling range, and knack for blitzing.

Pro Football Focus is in lockstep with this pick, having also selected Foster for the Saints. Their rigorous charting of recent college football seasons - every snap of every game - turned in a best-in-the-nation run defense grade for Foster, as well as an above-average grade in pass defense.

NCAA Football: Lambeau Field College Classic-Louisiana State vs Wisconsin
LSU Tigers cornerback Tre'Davious White (18) celebrates a play during the first quarter against the Wisconsin Badgers at Lambeau Field. Credit: Jeff Hanisch
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Elsewhere in draft media, NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah likes the fit of Shreveport native and LSU Tigers cornerback Tre’Davious White. A former college scout for the Philadelphia Eagles, Jeremiah cites White’s ball skills (6 career interceptions and 34 pass breakups) and tough tackling ability as strong additions to a Saints defense in need of help. I also like White’s abilities as a punt returner - he’s picked up 10 yards per return in his career and has also added three touchdowns on special teams.

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Georgia
Tennessee Volunteers defensive end Derek Barnett (9) hits Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jacob Eason (10) causing a fumble recovered by Tennessee for a touchdown during the fourth quarter at Sanford Stadium. Credit: Dale Zanine
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

One other mock draft to recognize is Canal Street Chronicle’s own John Hendrix, who this morning echoed a growing sentiment among Saints fans: please draft Tennessee Vols defensive end Derek Barnett. Barnett has the size, athleticism, and proven production to contribute right away in the NFL. Hendrix noted Barnett’s ability to create pressure out of three- or four-man fronts, as well as rush off the right or left ends. Be sure to check out his full mock draft for a look at how all seven rounds could unfold.