New Orleans Saints Mock Draft: Post-Free Agency Predictions for Every Round
These additions fill holes the team was previously looking to fill in the draft. As a result, the Saints will likely be able to literally pick "best player available" at each draft slot.
Here are the best guesses as to which players will be the "best player available" for the Saints in the NFL draft.
Round 1, Pick No. 15: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
More and more mock drafts are projecting LSU's Barkevious Mingo to the Saints. Count this as yet another to place the local boy in black and gold.
Saints fans know the talent and production of Mingo better than most prospects because of where he played his college ball. Still, many fans may forget that Mingo is perfectly suited for the Saints' new 3-4 defense.
Others may assume he is too small to become a dominant player at the NFL level. Any of that sort of talk is nonsense. Mingo will be the best pass-rusher in this draft, bar none.
For the Saints to grab that player at No. 15 would be the steal of the draft.
Round 3, Pick No. 13: Gavin Escobar, TE, San Diego State
You're crazy if you think Sean Payton is going to completely ignore the offensive side of the football in this draft. After shoring up the pass rush, he is going to aim to shore up the edges of his pass protection unit.
But remember also that Payton is a mad scientist who loves new toys. Don't think he hasn't spent a great deal of his time off the past year imagining new offensive concepts and studying some of the game's best offenses.
Of course, New England has two dynamic tight ends, and as such they have one of the best offenses in the NFL.
Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez are not clones, but they are fine complementary pieces. Gavin Escobar is nearly a clone of Jimmy Graham—a guy with a long, angular body who excels at snatching the ball out of midair in traffic.
Imagine the four vertical plays the Saints love to run with two tight ends like that running up the seams. Defenses could not stop it, ever.
Round 4, Pick No. 12: Dallas Thomas, OT, Tennessee
Dallas Thomas was vaulted into the discussion of potential first-round pick in January before scouts could know of a late-developing injury. As a result he has become a likely fourth-round prospect, instead of the first-rounder he was once projected to be.
Many draft analysts say Thomas is more of a guard than a tackle at the NFL level. Interestingly, and fortunately for the Saints, Sean Payton's system requires the tackles to play more like guards anyway. Thus Thomas is a fine fit in the Saints offense.
Round 5, Pick No. 11: Josh Johnson, CB, Purdue
I have used this space for the past three months as a posturing for my favorite player in the draft, Desmond Trufant—the corner from Washington—pleading my case for why the Saints must draft him.
There is an interesting reality, though. The Saints could find a Trufant clone in the fifth round, in the person of Josh Johnson. Both are physical as all get out. Both excel in man-to-man coverage. And each has that 'tude that an evaluator wants to see in an NFL corner.
The benefit of waiting until Round 5 to find such player is that it allows the Saints to take a player at a position of greater need with the first three picks. While it would hurt to pass on Trufant, selecting Barkevious Mingo and getting Josh Johnson would be a win-win for New Orleans in this draft.
Round 6, Pick No. 15: Kwame Geathers, NT, Georgia
Kwame Geathers is a mass of humanity. He might be as wide as the State of Rhode Island. At 6'6"and 342 pounds, he would be the biggest and most powerful thing to hit New Orleans since Roger Goodell took a chainsaw to the two-by-four which represented the Saints' 2012 season. Only this time it would benefit the city of New Orleans.
Geathers may require a triple-team, if only because he is the combined size of three grown men.
All kidding aside, Geathers is a huge man who would eat up tons of space in the middle of Rob Ryan's 3-4 defense. The Saints had a noticeably active presence at Georgia's Pro Day a few weeks back. It is unconscionable to think the team did not take heed in noticing the girth of Geathers.
Upon noticing it, it is reasonable to believe the team began dreaming about all the possibilities of having him in the middle of their 3-4 defense for many years to come.
There is little doubt that Geathers would look great in black and gold. The same could be said of the other four players mentioned here.