I understand that Christmas has come and gone, but NFL teams have a different kind of list on their minds around this time of year. They are grinding on film and burning through frequent flyer miles for those three precious days in April that could make or break their season—and, more importantly, the team's future.
Here I will take a look at the possible players that will and should be high up on the New Orleans Saints' draft board no matter which round they are projected in.
(I'm not implying that they reach on guys. If a guy is on here, take into account the area in which he's projected and that is the round that I'd wish they'd pick up the guy.)
I am going to keep putting Richardson on any one of my lists or mocks until he gives me a reason not to. Forget Brodrick Bunkley for a second because, as of now, he's just a very expensive paperweight.
If the Saints were to somehow land Richardson, he would pair with Akiem Hicks to be a very dangerous inside presence on the defensive line that New Orleans hadn't seen since the days of La 'Roi Glover and Norman Hand.
Add Bunkley to the mix (if he's not a cap casualty) with Tom Johnson, and you would instantly upgrade an area of weakness to one of the strengths of Steve Spagnuolo's defense.
With that kind of inside pressure, it wouldn't matter if me or you were coming off the edge.
Outsiders will see Okafor's 4.5-sack game in the bowl versus Oregon State and think he's some flash in the pan, but this guy has been terrorizing quarterbacks in earnest for two years now in Austin.
In his last two years at Texas, he amassed 29 sacks and six forced fumbles. This guy can just rip past offensive tackles. Doesn't matter if he is bull-rushing you or if he decides to uses quickness to scoot by you, he's getting to that quarterback.
He is a complete player and can also hold his own against the run.
Okafor would give the Saints a terrifying, young defensive end duo paired up with Cameron Jordan.
Let's get this out of the way first: The last time anyone saw "The Honey Badger" playing in a game, he was getting burnt by Alabama in the Superdome.
But how was the rest of his collegiate career?
If we are going by the "last game" mentality, then Manti Te'o (fake girlfriend aside) would also tumble into the latter parts of the draft. Now, Mathieu will fall late into the draft, but that is just based solely on his idiotic moves off the football field.
With that being said, he would be an absolute steal if he dropped that low in the draft.
The Saints desperately need playmakers on the defensive side of the ball. I don't know where Mathieu would fit, but they would definitely find a spot for this talented New Orleans native.
He had 11 forced fumbles, four interceptions and, oh yeah, he also scored touchdowns on punt returns as well as on the defensive side.
In him, the Saints would actually find a legit returner instead of rotating key veterans in there like Darren Sproles or Lance Moore and having a chance of them getting injured.
Poyer has been one of my favorite corners in college for a couple years now, and if you ever watched his games, you know why.
Just like Mathieu, Poyer is a playmaker who I say has the skills to translate into a No. 1 corner in the NFL. Yeah, he is that good.
In his last three seasons at Oregon State, Poyer had 36 passes defended, 13 interceptions, seven tackles for loss and three touchdown returns. He can also return kicks like Mathieu.
Given the state of the Saints' cornerback position, they could use all the help they could get. Don't be surprised—if the Saints do pick Poyer on Day 2—to see him starting in game one of the 2013 season.
His skills are also apparent at the Senior Bowl practices going on this week.
Before you start Googling him and looking up stats, I will save you the trouble. There isn't much to go on from that perspective, but I believe that this is a guy was truly just out of place in Georgia's 3-4 style of defense.
Sometimes they have him lined up on the line, other times he is roaming around as a linebacker, but it just never seemed like he was able to settle into a position and really take off.
That's not surprising given that he is better suited, in my opinion, as a base 4-3 defensive end. During Senior Bowl practices, the coaches have had him focusing on just that, and he has shown a burst and bull rush that was not on any game film that I saw.
He could truly be a steal in the later rounds in the right system, and Spags' scheme could be his best fit.