2012 NFL Mock Draft: Full 7-Round New Orleans Saints Predictions
The Saints shattered numerous offensive records this season, and really, it was their defense that cost them in the playoffs against the San Francisco 49ers.
Scoring 32 points against the league's top defense should be enough to get a victory, but unfortunately for the Saints, that wasn't the case. That and the fact that the Saints were 30th in the league in pass defense last season gives plenty of room for improvement.
Looking to improve their defense in 2012, here's a full seven-round draft prediction for the Saints.
Round 2, Pick 59: Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech
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If the Saints can land Jayron Hosley, then they'll be getting an incredible cornerback that has fantastic ball skills.
Because there are so many great cornerbacks in the draft, Hosley could easily slip to a late second-round pick, and the Saints would gladly take him.
Hosley's production in 2011 was down, but he reminded everyone of his talent in the Sugar Bowl loss versus Michigan. Hosley was all over the field for Virginia Tech, as he broke up passes, made tackles and returned kicks.
Though Patrick Robinson has shown some improvement, Hosley has the potential to be a future ball-hawking cornerback, and that's just what the Saints need from their opportunistic defense.
Round 3, Pick 90: Travis Lewis, LB, Oklahoma
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The Saints are desperately needing an impact player at outside linebacker, and Travis Lewis could certainly provide that.
During his collegiate career at Oklahoma, Lewis was considered to be one of the best defenders in the nation, and his three consecutive seasons with over 100 tackles proved it.
As a freshman, Lewis recorded 144 total tackles and four interceptions, and Lewis would end his career with 445 tackles and nine interceptions. That's impressive to say the least.
If Lewis can provide this kind of success at the next level, he could fill a gap that the Saints have been trying to fill for quite some time.
Round 4, Pick 122: Jake Bequette, DE, Arkansas
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Saints fans that are also LSU fans should know Jake Bequette very well.
Bequette made his mark in the SEC at Arkansas as one of the best pass rushers in all of the land. That's an area that the Saints could certainly use some help at.
The Saints were tied for 19th in the league in sacks all season, and though Cam Jordan was a rookie, he failed to make an impact on the field.
Will Smith needs a great pass-rusher on the opposite side of him, and Bequette's 10 sacks for the Hogs in 2011 had to have the Saints front office drooling.
Round 5, Pick 154: Malik Jackson, DL, Tennessee
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When it comes to searching for defensive linemen, look no further than the SEC.
When I attended the SEC Media Days in 2011, just about every coach agreed that the defensive line is what seperates the SEC from the rest of the country and has led them to all the success.
Tennessee's Malik Jackson symbolizes that rare variety of super athletes that represent the SEC on the defensive line. Jackson was the anchor for the Volunteers in 2011 and recorded 56 tackles.
With Shaun Rogers turning out to be a complete bust, a pick like Jackson would certainly make a lot of sense for the Saints.
Round 6, Pick 166: Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt
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Casey Hayward could turn out to be one of the great steals in the draft.
Hayward and Chris Marve made the Vanderbilt Commodores relevant in 2011, with Hayward holding down the secondary quite well.
Vanderbilt only gave up 21.6 points per game, and Hayward had seven interceptions to show for his efforts. If Hayward can wreak that much havoc in the SEC, his skill-set could generate a lot of big plays in the NFL for the Saints.
Round 6, Pick 186: Markus Zucevics, OT, Iowa
They know how to breed offensive linemen in the Big Ten, and in the sixth round, look for the Saints to pick up a nice backup in Markus Zucevics.
Zucevics is a 6'5", 300-pound right tackle that has the size and talent to play with the big boys at the next level.
A pick like Zucevics would give the Saints a quality backup on the offensive line, which is always a good thing to have.
Round 7, Pick 218: Chris Marve, LB, Vanderbilt
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Chris Marve is a spectacular athlete that had a phenomenal career at Vanderbilt.
In a league that features dominant play on defense, Marve stood out as one of the best in the league, which is extremely impressive when you consider Dont'a Hightower, Courtney Upshaw, Danny Trevathan and Jerry Franklin are the linebackers roaming around the SEC.
As a Vanderbilt Commodore, Marve totaled 398 tackles, 10 sacks and an interception.
The Saints are looking to add depth to the linebacker position or at least find a player that can defend the run and get a decent pass-rush. Marve could very well be that guy.