Hold on to your seats Who Dat nation, the 2013 NFL draft is only a couple of weeks away—finally!—and with only five draft picks in this year's draft, the New Orleans Saints will definitely be looking to retool their defense with the majority of those picks.
The question is, though, where do the Saints start? Do they go with the secondary with their first-round pick (15th overall)? Or do they go with the pass-rusher?
Let's take a look at the Saints' best-case scenarios in this year's draft.
With the 15th overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, the New Orleans Saints will draft the linebacker out of Georgia, Jarvis Jones.
With the aggressive style of defense that new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan brings and a need for a dominant pass-rusher, Jones is the good choice here.
Jones is an explosive player who can blow right by linemen with his quick burst or use his strength and moves to beat his blockers and get to the backfield. Jones is a great pass-rusher and decent at stopping the run. In his past two seasons at Georgia, Jones totaled 155 tackles, nine forced fumbles and 28 sacks.
The linebacker would be a great addition to a weak Saints defense and would make an immediate impact with his aggressive style.
Unfortunately for the Saints, they don't get to see a pick until the third round—unless they trade up for some picks.
Another pressing need the Saints need to fix is their secondary. They were scorched last season, so look for Sean Payton and Rob Ryan to bring in some talent through the draft.
Enter former LSU star cornerback Tyrann Mathieu. Hey, why not?
Yes, he's had a lot of off-field issues with drugs, but the cornerback is well worth the risk. Let's just hope that other team's view him as too much of a risk to pick him up before the third round.
Mathieu obviously has the talent—he has shown it on the field—and would be a big upgrade in the Saints' secondary. The former LSU cornerback was named MVP of the 2011 SEC championship game, winner of the Chuck Bednarik Award (given to the best defensive player in college football) and a Heisman Trophy finalist.
The disappointing Sedrick Ellis will not be back with the New Orleans Saints in 2013, so the team will be looking for a replacement.
The defensive tackle from Penn State, Jordan Hill, would be a good fit for the Saints. Hill won't wow you with his dominance, but he does have a high motor and is very agile.
Hill is 6'1", 304 pounds, so his size isn't anything that stands out. The tackle is quick on his feet, though, and can sidestep blockers to cut through the offensive line. He plays feisty and and has good raw power to make plays at the line of scrimmage or in the backfield. Hill is a smart player, and he always keeps his eyes elevated to bat down passes.
As a junior, Hill recorded 59 tackles, 3.5 sacks and one forced fumble, earning All-Big Ten honorable mention honors. In 2012, he had 4.5 sacks, one forced fumble and 64 tackles.
The Saints lost offensive lineman Jermon Bushrod to the Chicago Bears in free agency, so picking up a quality lineman for a replacement would make sense.
The 6'6", 325-pound lineman from LSU was good in pass protection and in run-blocking. I say "was" because Chris Faulk suffered a knee injury that knocked him out for the 2012 season. Instead of rehabbing and returning for one more year to prove he's 100 percent healthy, he decided to opt for the draft.
The thing is that the season before his injury, as a sophomore, Faulk had an excellent season at tackle for LSU. He displayed athleticism, which is key for a guy his size.
Faulk will be a project, but he does have attributes that will come in handy for the Saints and can possibly be as effective as the lineman who left (I'm looking at you, Bushrod) for cheaper.
The tight end out of Michigan State is a big guy at 6'6", 262 pounds and can be an intriguing pick for the New Orleans Saints. Jimmy Graham is obviously the Saints' star tight end, but what if he gets hurt?
Dion Sims would be a good pickup. Sims has good open-field speed, is a good blocker and has good hands. When he has the ball, he can make plays due to his size.
The biggest concern, outside of his off-field issues, is his injury history. Is he durable? He had a broken wrist in 2011 and suffered an ankle injury that sidelined him for a few games in 2012. What Sims brings to the table, though, is his athleticism and ability to make plays after the catch. As I mentioned before, he's also a good pass-blocker and run-blocker.
Unfortunately injuries are a part of the game, so who knows if the injury bug will hit Graham again. If it does, Sims as the backup wouldn't be a bad idea.