2012 NFL Mock Draft: 7-Round New Orleans Saints Predictions
With the New Orleans' Saints disappointing loss in the divisional round of the playoffs a weekend ago, the New Orleans Saints locked in their draft position.
They will have the 27th spot in each round. However, due to their trade with the AFC Champion New England Patriots for Mark Ingram, the Saints do not currently possess a first-round pick.
That being said, the Saints do possess two extra selections, one definitely in the sixth round due to the trade they made with Washington a few offseasons ago.
The other is an undetermined selection from Miami, which the Saints earned when they traded former star running back Reggie Bush in favor of signing Darren Sproles. I'm going to assume that is a fourth-round selection for the sake of making selections here.
With all that being said, let's look at the best-case scenario for each round for the New Orleans Saints.
Pick No. 59 (2nd Round): TE Coby Fleener, Stanford
In my previous Saints mock draft, I gave the Saints Orson Charles, a junior tight end from Georgia. This time around, I've identified a more complete player: Stanford tight end Coby Fleener.
Fleener is an accomplished receiver—in fact, he was Andrew Luck’s go-to receiver all year for the 11-2 Stanford Cardinal. But on that physical football team, Fleener also stood out in his duties as a blocker.
For that reason, he’s everything this Saints offense needs in a second tight end. His presence would only further grow the running game and create more mismatches in the passing game, based on personnel and formations.
Fleener is a hot name among tight ends in the draft community; thus, a late second-round selection seems almost inevitable.
Pick No. 91 (3rd Round): LB Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State
Vontaze Burfict is somehow listed by nfldraftscout.com as the 87th-best prospect in this year's draft. Not long ago, he was considered a possible top-10 pick.
If Burfict's decline remains true, he could easily be sitting in the Saints' lap at No. 91. For the talent and production at the collegiate level, this is a player who would simply be too good to pass up.
Adding to the talent is an attitude which sometimes get Burfict in trouble but often intimidates the opponent. That is a trait the Saints like in their defenders. And it would fit this particular defense fairly well.
Pick No. 113 (from Miami): DT Alameda Ta'amu, Washington
The all Pac-12 draft continues with the selection of Washington Huskies defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu.
This young man stands 6'3", 337 lbs. With that kind of size Ta'amu has a chance to take the spot of either Aubrayo Franklin or Shaun Rogers as a rotation one-tech defensive tackle for this Saints squad.
With that size, he also projects as a good fit for a 3-4 defense if the Saints decide to show multiple fronts under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
Ta'amu might not add much to the Saints pass rush, but his presence should help free up Sedrick Ellis to get more pressure on the quarterback.
Pick No. 130 (Approximately): OT Andrew Datko, Florida State
Andrew Datko looks to be a fourth-round offensive tackle who projects as a right tackle. Of course, that is the spot the Saints most need to improve on the offensive line.
Even if Datko doesn't come in and start immediately, he ought to force Zach Strief or Charles Brown to step their game up in order to secure the spot.
If the Saints are unable to re-sign Carl Nicks, left guard obviously becomes a more key issue immediately. But for now, let's assume Nicks is re-signed. Thus, improving the right tackle spot is of great importance.
Pick No. 162: DE Jake Bequette, Arkansas
Jake Bequette is a hard-nosed, high-motor defensive end from Arkansas. He is a poor man's version of former Georgia All-American David Pollack.
Both were productive college players. Both projected as a pass-rush specialist. Bequette has a legitimate chance to have a more effective NFL career.
If the Saints pull the trigger on this player, they can only hope so.
Pick No. 167 (from Washington): S Brandon Taylor, LSU
Brandon Taylor might be the least known member of the Bayou Bengals' illustrious secondary from this past season. Still, he is a top-160 prospect in this draft according to most draft experts.
He isn't the playmaker that Tyrann Mathieu is, but he's a solid player who will provide great depth to the Saints secondary and be a great special teams player.
Pick No. 195: DE Jacquies Smith, Missouri
After getting blasted by former Missouri Tigers Justin and Aldon Smith of the 49ers, the Saints could look to acquire their own Tiger Smith to get after quarterbacks.
At 6'3", 255 lbs. this guy figures to feature similar attributes to Aldon with speed and quickness. And he's probably already a little bigger and stronger. That should help him in his ability to hold up against the run.
There's something about a defensive end from Missouri with the last name Smith. The Saints would be wise to take a chance that there is with Jacquies.
Pick No. 228: QB Kellen Moore, Boise State
Kellen Moore to the Saints is already such a popular train of thought, I'm surprised it hasn't reached trending status on Twitter yet—at least in New Orleans.
Given the Saints' need for a developmental quarterback to eventually take over for Drew Brees, Moore makes sense. That said, I don't see Moore ever becoming more (npi) than a backup in New Orleans.
Eventually, the Saints will take a first-round selection to address their future successor to Brees' crown, in much the same way the Colts will do with Andrew Luck and even more similar to the way the Packers did with Aaron Rodgers.