There are few time periods each year that are filled with more conjecture, bickering and jockeying for position than the time between the NFL Scouting Combine and the NFL draft.
For just about two months every fan, football writer, agent and player will attempt to predict who will land with which NFL team and in what round.
I’ll be taking a few swings at full seven-round mock drafts for each NFC South team shortly, but right now it’s time to gather up some of the early mocks performed around the Internet and discuss them at length.
As it stands right now—there are still compensatory picks to be handed out—the New Orleans Saints have five picks in the upcoming 2013 NFL draft. They were punished in the bounty scandal and forced to forfeit their second-round pick and they traded their seventh-round pick to Seattle for linebacker Barrett Ruud.
This article is going to examine the picks from three first-round mocks:
Daniel Jeremiah—NFL Network
Mingo had a phenomenal workout at the combine, but there are still concerns about his play on the field. He is a true "flash" player and could be this year's biggest boom-or-bust prospect.
The Picks Before: The 14 picks prior to Jeremiah taking Mingo for the Saints were: Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher, Sharrif Floyd, Dion Jordan, Ziggy Ansah, Dee Milliner, Geno Smith, Lane Johnson, Jarvis Jones, Jonathan Cooper, Cordarrelle Patterson, Keenan Allen, Xavier Rhodes and Star Lotulelei.
There were two defensive ends and one outside linebacker taken prior to Mingo.
Reaction: Mingo countered a sub-par season at LSU with an awesome combine and could quite possibly be the best pass-rusher in the draft. This is good because that’s exactly what the Saints need.
Mingo can play at defensive end or at outside linebacker, which will help as the Saints try to switch to the 3-4 scheme in 2013. Players with versatility go a long way in this transformation stage.
For a team that had such a rough 2012 season, it would be nice to see the Saints' first pick not have question marks. But it would be hard to pass up the best attack dog in the draft.
For the Saints, the pass-rushers and offensive tackles they would want are gone. Ogletree is an explosive athlete with the ability to cover like a safety, which he was early in his career, and make plays from sideline to sideline against the run.
He has some baggage, but not many guys come along with Ogletree's assortment of skills. He won't last long.
The Picks Before: The 14 picks prior to McShay taking Ogletree for the Saints were: Star Lotulelei, Luke Joeckel, Sharrif Floyd, Dee Milliner, Ezekiel Ansah, Dion Jordan, Geno Smith, Eric Fisher, Barkevious Mingo, Jonathan Cooper, Lane Johnson, Keenan Allen, Kenny Vaccaro and Sheldon Richardson.
Reaction: I tend to disagree with McShay about the pass-rushers being gone. If Jarvis Jones had a medical green light, he’d be an option at No. 15. But it’s hard to argue with Ogletree’s athleticism.
Ogletree has played safety and inside linebacker in his college career. His skills at chasing ball-carriers and even in coverage will be special, but he’s also gifted enough to move to weak-side linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. This makes Ogletree very valuable.
Rob Rang—CBS Sports
The Saints relied on a heavy blitz attack under former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams but their lack of true pass rushers was exposed last year under Steve Spagnuolo, and the team's sack total shrunk to 30, tied for the fifth lowest number in the league. Moore, who has experience lining up as an outside linebacker, defensive end and even cornerback has the blend of size and athleticism to explode under a creative mind like new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who is planning on implementing the 3-4 defense in New Orleans.
The Picks Before: The 14 picks prior to Rang taking Jordan for the Saints were: Luke Joeckel, Sharrif Floyd, Bjoern Werner, Dee Milliner, Jarvis Jones, Ezekiel Ansah, Eric Fisher, Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, Star Lotulelei, Lane Johnson, Cordarrelle Patterson, Xavier Rhodes and Chance Warmack.
Reaction: Of the three mock drafts, Jordan would be the best catch for the Saints. Jordan took a huge risk in working out at the combine and delaying shoulder surgery. His brilliant performances were not only noteworthy because of the numbers themselves, but because Jordan was willing to put himself out there when he wasn’t 100 percent and he overachieved.
The fact that Jordan is a ‘tweener end/linebacker fits well as the Saints transition to the 3-4. He is fast enough to beat tackles outside and quick with his feet and hands so he can spin and go inside.
Jordan will need to build some strength and technique to power through stronger linemen, but he can bring plenty of pressure to opposing quarterbacks from Day 1.
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes and statements were obtained firsthand.