The season's over, Who Dat Nation, and your Black and Gold are not in the postseason for the first time since 2008. That means one thing: It's time to look toward to the future.
Best way to do that? The draft.
Let's just hope that Mickey Loomis and the New Orleans Saints front office have done their due diligence with the draft coming up in about four months—mainly with regards to wish lists, not resolutions, because that is for another time.
This won't be a seven-round mock, seeing as the Saints do not have a second- or seventh-rounder due to unfortunate circumstances—you know, the bounty thing and trading for Barrett Ruud.
With the Black and Gold wining their last two out of three games, they have taken themselves out of the running for some of the most talented prospects in the top 10. Let's just hope they don't end up with a lump of coal after the dust settles.
With the news today that Jermon Bushrod is probably headed for a big payday, I would be shocked if the Saints were the team to give it to him. Maybe shocked isn't the word. Saddened? Let's use saddened.
Bushrod is an average tackle in this league who does not deserve above-average money. That point was more evident against Carolina, when he was getting bull-rushed, especially when Zach Strief on the other side was getting the same treatment.
I would use this pick on an offensive tackle, preferably Jake Matthews of Texas A&M or Eric Fisher of Central Michigan. One of those guys would go a long way in determining whether Drew Brees stops ranking among the top three in pressured dropbacks.
Brees makes the whole ship go, so keeping him upright will priority No. 1 for Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis.
Margus Hunt is an athletic freak who hasn't been playing defensive end that long, but the Saints love a project, especially in the third round (see: Wilson, Martez and Graham, Jimmy).
Hunt is 6'8" and 270 pounds, and he could be a huge steal if he continues to progress like he has been. With his size and versatility, he could also join Cameron Jordan on the inside on passing downs.
The possibilities are endless.
Micah Hyde might not be well known outside of the Midwest and scouting circles, but he could be another steal if he drops this far.
I liken him to Ron Brooks of LSU last year. He's got the same size and playmaking ability, but his speed might not be on par with Brooks, and that might cause him to slide.
The Saints could definitely use more cornerbacks, because most of the ones they have now just like to watch touchdowns scored in front of them.
If you are a Brian de la Puente supporter, that's fine, but he did nothing this year to warrant his job being safe.
Enter Mario Benavides.
This kid from Louisville ran a line that was responsible for keeping Teddy Bridgewater upright, and when they did, the quarterback was high on efficiency boards.
Don't let the draft position fool you. Centers always drop in the draft, unless they can play other positions on the line or are a supreme talent.
He could be a stud.
People who watched Marquise Goodwin in the Alamo Bowl probably think this will be too low for him, and you might be right, but as of now, he is a one-trick pony.
All he can run right now is a fly route down the seam, but in the NFL, he will primarily be working out of the slot due to his diminutive stature. You can run those routes in the slot as well, but they are more effective out wide.
With this guy's track speed (he went to London this year to compete in the Olympics), it might not matter that he's 5'9", because no one will be around him, like in the aforementioned bowl game.
The Saints could sure use some speed in their receiving corps. with Devery Henderson a free agent and only Joe Morgan on the team with that deep speed.
He could also team up with Travaris Cadet to actually make something out of the return game, because that area is also sorely in need of help.