5 2013 NFL Draft Prospects Guaranteed to Interest the New Orleans Saints

Jason BernosContributor IIDecember 17, 2012

5 2013 NFL Draft Prospects Guaranteed to Interest the New Orleans Saints

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    After a great win versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, the New Orleans Saints have lowered their draft slot in next year's draft, but do have momentum going into their last two games.

    The Saints have also started to play younger players, with some veterans heading to injured reserve with minor injuries. (That is usually what teams that are out of the playoff hunt do around this time of year.)

    New Orleans' biggest deficiencies are on the defensive line, at cornerback and at offensive tackle.

    The prospects at those positions should definitely pique the Saints' interest, but which ones specifically?

    Let's take a look.

Barkevious Mingo

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    Mingo has a big window in most mock drafts that I have seen. In some, he is a Top-5 pick, but, in others, he is as low as the 20th pick.

    If he is on the board when the Saints are up, they should be very interested—Mingo will be high on their board.

    Steve Spagnuolo has had success with his little OLB/DE project in Martez Wilson this year, so don't think that just because the LSU product is considered a better fit for a 3-4 defense.

    I see Mingo better as a 4-3 defensive end. I see a lot of Dwight Freeney in him, and his wingspan is enormous.

    He would definitely be a fun "toy" for Spags to play with. 

Jake Matthews

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    Matthews had a great year, especially against top talent like Mingo in the aforementioned slide.

    The outside of the Saints offensive line is weak, as well as the center position, so don't be surprised if a "big ugly" is called first for New Orleans.

    There's nothing to dislike about the Texas A&M product and he does have that Matthews bloodline, so there's that.

    He is the only tackle prospect—outside of his A&M teammate who will go much higher—that I like in the first round this year. 

Johnthan Banks

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    The cornerback position, overall, has been awful this year. There is some young talent there, but the unit is inconsistent and could use a starting-caliber talent to come in and compete.

    That guy could be Banks, who has impressed me over his entire collegiate career.

    He is a taller cornerback in the mold that Spagnuolo had in New York and Philadelphia, and a strong camp from him could make Jabari Greer expendable.

    The SEC product is a playmaker, and this defense could use a lot more of those.

Damontre Moore

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    Like I said before, with the success of Martez Wilson in his hybrid position, the Saints could be honing in on those type of versatile players.

    The team has always drafted for versatility on defense in the past, and I see Moore as a very interesting prospect for New Orleans.

    Moore has been a sack-master in his first year in the SEC, and could bring that element to a Saints defense that has been lacking that outside of Cameron Jordan.

    He is a little stronger against the run than Mingo, and could be a wild card if he's on the board when the Black and Gold come up.

Sheldon Richardson

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    I swear I'm not SEC biased, but admittedly, all of these players are from that conference.

    Just realized that! Isn't that a pleasant surprise?

    Richardson is a bit of a one-hit wonder and a little raw, but that shouldn't overshadow his immense skills.

    I am convinced that if he had another year under his belt, he would be a sure-fire Top-10 pick, but this year he will be more in the 17-22 range.

    That's okay with Saints brass because he could play really well between Brodrick Bunkley and Cameron Jordan, or he could line up at end if need be.

    Richardson is that versatile. However, his performance in the NFL Scouting Combine will probably boost him higher than where the Saints are picking.