Saints 2013 Mock Draft: Full 7-Round Projections After First Week of Free Agency
After just one week of the 2013 NFL free agency whirlwind in the books, NFL mock drafts are starting to become slightly easier to fill in as teams' needs are more obvious.
The New Orleans Saints have wisely been quiet in free agency and allowed players demanding large sums of money to simply walk. Fans should be happy to see that Mickey Loomis has been responsible.
It may even mean the team is finally and mercifully taking a more draft-based approach to building the roster. Even if it is by necessity, it is still much appreciated. The only need that has been met, and it was well down the line on the list of needs, was at cornerback, with the signing of Keenan Lewis on Thursday.
With Jermon Bushrod and Chase Daniel being allowed to walk, offensive tackle and quarterback became need positions (left tackle was expected to be a need coming into the offseason).
Here are the draft prospects who make the most sense to fill the team's current needs.
First Round, Pick No. 15: Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State
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For an outstanding Menelik Watson scouting report from Eric Stoner, click here.
The New Orleans Saints are going to be forced to take an offensive tackle in this draft, after allowing Jermon Bushrod to leave via free agency to the Chicago Bears. The left tackle spot is, of course, the most important position on the offense after the quarterback spot.
For whatever reason the team has played with inferior talent at the position for the majority of the Sean Payton-Drew Brees era. With Brees aging, and thus likely losing some of his incredible pocket mobility magic, a great left tackle is an absolute necessity.
Watson has all the skills needed to become that with a little work and a little experience at the NFL level. Charles Brown likely takes the job this year by default. Watson could be ready next season at the same time that Brown is a free agent.
It almost makes too much sense.
Third Round, Pick No. 13: Brandon Williams, NT, Missouri Southern State
With the Atlanta Falcons' addition of Steven Jackson, it is likely that all three NFC South rivals will desire to run the football early and often when they play the Saints.
In other words the Saints would be wise to find a player in the middle of the defense who can derail opponents' running games. Brandon Williams is more than capable of being that kind of player.
This pick becomes even more necessary if the team is able to sign Elvis Dumervil or another speed rusher who struggles against the run, as is the case with Dumervil. Even without him, Martez Wilson and Junior Galette are smaller edge rushers who will be torn apart in the running game.
The best way to counteract that is to have three behemoth run-stoppers along the defensive line. Cam Jordan and Will Smith are already perfect fits at the defensive end spots. The team simply needs a giant in the middle.
Williams is capable of becoming just that.
Fourth Round, Pick No. 12: Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford
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It would be unbelievable if Chase Thomas was available at this pick. CBS Sports' draft site has him available so we're going to assume that he will be.
Thomas would instantly become the steal of the draft. While he is unlikely to become a dominant pass-rusher, the Stanford product will benefit from amazing college coaching and familiarity with the Saints' style of defense.
He'll play the run intelligently and provide great energy for the defensive unit. In year one, it is a mere certainty that Thomas would excel on special teams and in a rotational role.
Fifth Round, Pick No. 11: Dion Sims, TE, Michigan State
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I know, I know, you've heard enough about Dion Sims from me. You want me to just shut up about him already. Well, sorry!
Sims would look great in black and gold. His ginormous body combined with freakish athleticism makes him a can't-miss prospect in my books. And to think it's conceivable the team could obtain his services in the fifth round—that's simply insane.
What more could the team ask for in finding a third string/developmental tight end? In a year or two he would be the perfect complement to superstar Jimmy Graham.
Sixth Round, Pick No. 15: Sean Renfree, QB, Duke
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Sean Renfree is just like every other quarterback the Saints have brought in during the Sean Payton era, save for Drew Brees. Even the similarities between Brees and Renfree exist.
The Duke product is coming off an injury which has prevented him from working out for NFL scouts as of yet. That could easily work out in the Saints' favor come April.
Renfree is freakishly intelligent. He was a productive college quarterback. And his tutelage came from the same man who discipled Peyton Manning in college: David Cutcliffe.
With the Saints needing a backup quarterback due to the departure of Chase Daniel, it should look no further than Sean Renfree.