New Orleans Saints Mock Draft: Fresh Predictions After the Super Bowl
The 2012 NFL season is officially over. With the Baltimore Ravens championship victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Sunday, the NFL campaign came to a close.
It is finally appropriate to begin discussing the myriad of possibilities that exist for each NFL team to improve its roster with the hopes of making a run for Super Bowl XLVIII. From a methodological standpoint, here is what the Saints must do and improve on in 2013 to make a serious Super Bowl run.
It would not hurt to add some top-notch talent in this year's draft. There are certain players in this draft who will make each of those four focuses possible. The list of those players is as follows.
First Round, Pick No. 15: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
Barkevious Mingo NFL Player Comparison
With the Saints moving to a 3-4 defense, marquee pass-rushers will occupy the outside linebacker spots in New Orleans. Martez Wilson and Junior Galette are currently the assumed starters at those spots.
While Wilson seems the ideal fit, Galette lacks the athleticism and in-space aptitude to start in the 3-4 scheme. And even if he did start, he might be the worst 3-4 starting outside linebacker in the league.
Enter in Barkevious Mingo. Mingo has the quickest first step of any pass-rusher in this draft. He has amazing burst and finishing ability to take down—or at the least seriously disrupt a quarterback’s throw.
Despite being placed in a three-point stance on the majority of his defensive snaps at LSU, Mingo showed an ability to operate in space and cover running backs and tight ends—as he would need to do in the NFL at the outside linebacker spot.
The biggest question—will Mingo be available at No. 15? It’s still too early to know anything for sure. Reason would have it that he will not be. But Mingo is the one player in this draft worth trading up for, especially with the move to the 3-4 defense.
One way or another, the Saints absolutely must acquire Mingo. If they do not, the 2013 draft is a failed one.
Note that in the four key areas, Mingo occupies the "Find Your Aldon Smith" slot.
Third Round, Pick No. 13: Brandon Williams, NT, Southern Missouri
Taken from denverbroncos.forum.com.
It is debatable whether incumbent defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley is capable of occupying the vacant nose tackle slot in the upcoming 3-4 defense. The reality, though, is that whether he can or not, the Saints currently have no other player to occupy that slot as a backup.
In the worst-case scenario, Brandon Williams comes in to back up Bunkley for two or three years before eventually taking over the nose tackle slot for good. In that, Williams would undoubtedly sub in at the slot throughout the game, while also using his versatility to occasionally fill in at one of the five-technique defensive end spots.
At 341 pounds, Williams does not seem like a guy who should be able to play on the outside. Yet he is just that. His athleticism and versatility make him one of the preeminent talents along the defensive line in this year’s draft. Still, Williams appears to be a guy whose draft stock will settle at an early third-round slot.
If the Saints can obtain his services in the third round, it promises to be a steal of a pick.
Williams will help slow the run and make the Saints a true "bend-but-don't-break" defense.
Fourth Round, Pick No. 12: Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, Connecticut
Rich Schultz/Getty Images
The New Orleans Saints could use some secondary help. But it is not the preeminent need at this point in the draft—an offensive tackle would be ideal.
Still, finding a player of Blidi Wreh-Wilson’s quality at this point in the draft would be borderline amazing. The UConn product has great hips to be able to move with each cut an opposing receiver makes against him.
He understands route concepts and reacts quickly to them whether in man or zone coverage. He is physical enough to slow down some of the league’s best physical receivers. He’ll also come up to play the run effectively.
In short, he has an opportunity to become a No. 1 corner in the NFL. To find such a player in the fourth round would be yet another steal.
Fifth Round, Pick No. 11: Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Few players present the potential impact of Terron Armstead at such a value slot—roughly pick No. 140. Like Brandon Williams before him, Armstead is a player who has gained acclaim already in the draft process due to outstanding work at one of the college All-Star games.
Armstead has all the tools of an eventual starting left tackle in the NFL. His main detractor is the simple fact he played at a low level of competition at Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The speed and power of the game will be significantly more strenuous at the next level.
Once he gets used to that level, though, Armstead can become an elite offensive tackle at the NFL level.
He would allow the Saints to play mistake-free football due to less pressure being allowed to make its way toward Drew Brees.
Sixth Round, Pick No. 15: Chris Gragg, TE, Arkansas
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Chris Gragg fills a need in the Saints' continual roster overhaul. With David Thomas reaching an age where he is less effective, Jimmy Graham facing a key contract season and Michael Higgins not being used much a season ago, an extra tight end would figure to be a position of intrigue for the Saints in the upcoming draft.
In the sixth round, Gragg represents the best value and slot possibility for a tight end who figures to contribute little in 2013, but presents great potential in 2014 and beyond.
Gragg is a blend of talents wrapped into one. He runs good routes, catches the ball well and (as seen here) can run with the ball after the catch.
It is assumed that the Saints will not have a seventh round pick in this draft, making this sixth pick of great importance. Gragg was the best player available from the tight end position, as well as the center spot and inside linebacker spot.