The latest Mel Kiper Mock Draft is out, and it has the New Orleans Saints focusing on the defensive side of the ball with linebacker Haason Reddick at 11th and cornerback Marlon Humphrey at 32nd. Here’s what he had to say on the selections:
No prospect has risen as much during the pre-draft process as Reddick has. He was fantastic at the Senior Bowl, and he was one of the MVPs of the combine, with a 4.52 40, 36.5-inch vertical and 11-foot-1 broad jump. Reddick's value is in his versatility -- he could play inside or outside in a 4-3 or 3-4, with his hand in the dirt or playing on his feet in space. The Saints have made an effort to improve their 31st-ranked defense in free agency, re-signing Nick Fairley and bringing in A.J. Klein, Manti Te'o and Alex Okafor, and Reddick (6-1, 237) would probably play outside in New Orleans' 4-3.
Reddick is obviously a talented player in this draft, but it’s worth noting that Kiper has popular fan pick Reuben Foster sliding to the Colts at 15th. Many would suggest the Saints should still invest heavily in a pass rushing specialist at 11th. Reddick’s pro comparison from NFL.com’s draft profile is Ryan Shazier, for what it’s worth. Reddick played in 42 games over four years at Temple, totaling 149 tackles with 47 for loss while adding an interception, 17.5 sacks, five pass defenses, and four forced fumbles.
Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
The Saints are trying to pry away restricted free-agent corner Malcolm Butler from the Patriots, but until they do, the position is a weak spot on a defense that gave up the most passing yards per game (273.8) last season. Humphrey (6-0 197) has length, strength, speed and good bloodlines (his father is former NFL running back Bobby Humphrey). I had Haason Reddick going to the Saints with their other first-round pick, and I suspect they'd be happy with two defenders who could step in and play on Day 1.
Humphrey was paired to the Saints at No. 11 in the infancy stages of mock drafts, mainly by Kiper’s colleague Todd McShay. There’s no denying that the Saints could use another cornerback or two, even with them potentially still in play for Malcolm Butler and re-signing Sterling Moore. Kiper’s mock had edge rusher Taco Charlton heading to the Falcons at 31st and outside linebacker Tyus Bowser to the Steelers at 30th.
You can view the full mock draft here, which requires ESPN Insider access. Kiper’s previous selections were Derek Barnett (January) and Solomon Thomas (February).