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Mike Mayock’s mock draft: Saints cure third-down woes

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One of the draft’s youngest and most-athletic prospects would fit New Orleans perfectly.

COLLEGE PARK, MD - Maryland Terrapins wide receiver D.J. Moore (1) lines up against the Northwestern Wildcats defense at Capital One Field.
COLLEGE PARK, MD - Maryland Terrapins wide receiver D.J. Moore (1) lines up against the Northwestern Wildcats defense at Capital One Field.
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Not all mock drafts are created equally. This one comes from NFL Network’s draft expert, Mike Mayock. Mayock is one of the longest-tenured draft analysts among the big media platforms, and that experience offers him more insight (and sources) in war rooms around the league, including the New Orleans Saints. That’s why Mayock holds off until the night before the draft to forecast the first round - he prefers to take one shot at it using all the information he’s gathered, rather than explore many different scenarios in the weeks leading up to the event.

As for the Saints, Mayock has them drafting Maryland Terps wide receiver D.J. Moore, the third and last receiver to go in the first round after SMU’s Courtland Sutton (to the Dallas Cowboys) and Alabama product Calvin Ridley (joining the Carolina Panthers):

Moore can best be defined as electric. Take it a step further and describe him as full of potential. He’s one of the draft’s youngest prospects (he turned 21-years old just two weeks ago) and pound-for-pound one of its top athletes (clearing SPARQ’s 97th-percentile).

We know that Saints head coach Sean Payton likes his wide receiver corps to resemble a basketball team, fielding a mix of body types ranging from power forwards (Michael Thomas) to shooting guards (Ted Ginn Jr) and centers (Brandon Coleman). With Willie Snead departed for the Baltimore Ravens, the Saints could use someone of Moore’s slighter build - he measured in at 6-foot-even, 210-pounds - to work as a slot receiver specialist who can create high-percentage “layup” throws on third down for quarterback Drew Brees.

Would you be happy with this pick? I know I would. Also, the players Mayock sees the Saints passing on to finish out the first round include:

28. Pittsburgh SteelersSony Michel, RB (Georgia)

29. Jacksonville JaguarsHayden Hurst, TE (South Carolina)

30. Minnesota VikingsWill Hernandez, G (UTEP)

31. New England PatriotsJames Daniels, C (Iowa)

32. Philadelphia EaglesDerrius Guice, RB (LSU)