The last time the Saints finished a season with a losing record was 2007. Sure, picking in the top half of the draft will be nice, but finding ways to pile wins on in 2013 won’t be easy, and welcoming back head coach Sean Payton from his suspension will only account for some, not all the needed victories.
Speaking of suspensions, because of Bountygate, New Orleans dealt with players and coaches being gone and lost its second-round draft pick this year. That won’t help at all.
The Saints announced in January they were moving to a 3-4 defensive scheme in 2013. A change like that is going to require a major overhaul. The draft for the next few years will be massively important to the change on defense.
April 14: Ashland University wide receiver Anthony Capasso was visited by the New Orleans Saints, accordint to College2Pro.com.
April 11: Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson visited the New Orleans Saints, according to Scout.com.
April 8: Tulane cornerback Ryan Travis will take part in the New Orleans Saints' local day, according to College2Pro.com.
April 7: Louisiana Tech offensive tackle Jordan Mills has a visit scheduled to the New Orleans Saints, according to Scout.com.
Coming soon with all the breaking news about Saints trades.
The New Orleans Saints gave up an NFL-record 7,042 yards to opposing offenses last season. Nothing is absolute until NFL commissioner Roger Goodell calls out the name, but it’s not a foregone conclusion the Saints will go with a defensive player with their first round pick at No. 15.
Not only do the Saints have to figure out how to slow down opposing offenses, but since the team is moving to a 3-4 defensive scheme in 2013, New Orleans is going to have to find a defensive player that can make an impact by solving both issues.
LSU defensive Barkevious Mingo is a great fit for the Saints’ move to a 3-4, and Mingo posted 4.5 sacks and 12 quarterback hurries last season for the Tigers. He’s an explosive athlete that can use his long arms to disrupt quarterbacks. There might not be a linebacker in the draft with as much upside.
Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones also has an extremely explosive first step and can close on a quarterback with the best pass-rushers available. Over the past two seasons with the Bulldogs, Jones tallied 28 sacks and 88 quarterback pressures.
The New Orleans Saints didn’t have a pick in the first two rounds of the 2012 draft, so talking about trading down or out of the first round of the 2013 draft may sound like lunacy.
But the Saints are re-writing and rebuilding their defense, and adding some line help to the offense; the more picks they have the better. Add that to the fact that the NFL snatched the Saints’ second-round pick away as a Bountygate punishment, and you’ll see that extra picks would be nice.
New Orleans could trade out of the first round and pick up a second and later pick to bolster its offensive line with Florida State offensive tackle Menelik Watson or offensive guard Justin Pugh from Syracuse.
With the extra pick, New Orleans could look at outside linebacker Jamie Collins from Southern Mississippi or help the secondary with a cover safety like Jonathan Cyprien from Florida International.
In just about every mock draft available, the New Orleans Saints have taken a pass-rush specialist of some sort. But what could happen if that’s not the direction the team takes?
At No. 15, the Saints could fix a huge problem in their secondary by adding a cover safety. The first name that comes to mind is Kenny Vaccaro from the University of Texas.
Vaccaro has unique vision to play both in run defense and in coverage. New Orleans had troubles with both last season, so his skills would be welcomed. Vaccaro could shine in coverage and provide the necessary pop needed to stop long run plays.
New Orleans could also look at Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson to replace Jermon Bushrod. This would be a fantastic move if Johnson fell to No. 15, but in all likelihood Johnson won’t last that long. If the Saints are going to pull off a move like this they’ll have to move up in the first round.
Can the Saints afford to move up?