The New Orleans Saints hold the 27th pick in next month’s NFL draft, and like most teams have number of directions they could go with their 1st round pick. Let’s take a look at the most likely positions/players the Saints could take in the 1st.
The Saints have turned their safety corps into one of the league’s best, but they still have some work to be done in the front of their secondary. Keenan Lewis is has one side of the field locked down and proved one of the best free agent signings of 2013. Champ Bailey is a future Hall of Famer, but at 36 he is better suited as the Saints nickel corner. The Saints would be very wise to go with a big press corner that will give Rob Ryan’s pass rush more bite. Darqueze Dennard would be that guy, but he might not be there #27. The 27th spot would be the perfect spot for the Saints to grab Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller. Fuller is very physical at the line and isn’t afraid to attack vs. the run. The Saints would be able to let him transition into the starting role while he learns from Champ. Getting a CB in the 1st would free the Saints up to address their need at WR or the interior line in the 2nd and 3rd.
Marques Colston is the clear #1 WR in NO, but after him the Saints are in need of some new offensive firepower. I like Kenny Stills, and feel that he is in for a big 2014 season. That being said, the Saints could use the pick one of the WR’s from this deep 2014 class. Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandin Cooks would be great at replacing the production from Darren Sproles and Lance Moore if the Saints are looking for a smaller slot type WR. If they are looking to they are looking to bring in a strong big bodied WR, Allen Robinson or Donte Moncrief would be there for the taking at #27. Though I know the Saints have done plenty without the help of 1st round talent on offense, the thought of grabbing a WR in this spot intrigues me.
RUSH DE/OUTSIDE LB
The Saints defense was a turnaround story of 2013, but one thing they lack is talent from the rush end position. The 1st round of this draft will have plenty of options for the Saints to address this defensive hole. This looks like the most likely option for the Saints in the 1st. Dee Ford, Ryan Shazier, Demarcus Lawrence or Kony Ealy should be around at #27, and the Saints’ D could use any of their talents on the edge. Ealy would be my preferred pick in this slot. His size and versatility to play 4-3 DE or 3-4 LB would be interesting to see Rob Ryan work with. He has great Watt-like hands when he can’t get to the QB.
The Saints letting De La Puente walk to the Bears leaves a hole at the O-Line’s anchor position. Centers seem to be an easily replaceable position for Sean Payton, but grabbing someone like Marcus Martin would be a nice pick. I know what you are saying. TAKE A CENTER IN THE 1ST ROUND! WE AREN’T THE COWBOYS! We take Martin in the 1st and he becomes our starting center immediately. He provides a smart solid presence in the middle, and makes the Saints line among the leagues best. The next year when we lose Evans and/or Grubbs to free agency, Martin slides over to OG and Tim Lelito takes over as the 2015 center.
The Saints have a long history of great linebackers, and Mosely could carry on that tradition. Mosely is the toughest most athletic ILB in this draft and he would step in and be the leader of the Saints defense. He is a smart and instinctual player that will make any unit better. If he’s there at #27, the Saints need to make the pick.