Barkevious Mingo. Jarvis Jones. Desmond Trufant. Kenny Vaccaro. Alec Ogletree.
Those five names seem to be the most commonly echoed among fans I've interacted with in Bleacher Report forums and on Twitter over the past few months, in relation to who the Saints should select with the 15th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Of course, I too am a fan and thus have an opinion and an obvious bias. Any loyal reader knows there are two of those five players I'd prefer, and that I'd be OK with one other.
In short, I do not want either of the Georgia products on that list. But this isn't about me. It's about you, the fan.
Every once in a while a fan will throw in a name such as Bjoern Werner, Dion Jordan or Alex Okafor. Menelik Watson of Florida State has become a name thrown around a bit as well. And then there's the hot-button issue of simply trading down.
For the sake of argument, let's stick to the five mentioned at the top of this piece. I will attempt to make the best case for each player and give you, the fan, the opportunity to vote. Let's consider this our "Fans' First-Round Mock Draft."
If you are adamant about one of the players not on this list (which would be totally understandable), the comments section is an appropriate place to voice your concerns. Without further ado, let's go!
LSU OLB Barkevious Mingo
I've tried to rally the troops as much as possible in the last month to create some positive "Barkevious Mingo to the Saints" buzz. I'm surprised he hasn't caught on quite as well as some other players.
It is especially strange given the natural LSU connection and fans' loyalty in this region. It's not as if Mingo was some college bust. He was a great player at LSU for three seasons.
Just last week I declared that the Saints must draft Mingo. For the reasons stated in that article, Mingo is a must-have for Rob Ryan's defense. Combined with Victor Butler (detailed here), Martez and Junior Galette, the Saints would possess one of the most potentially explosive pass-rushing group of linebackers in the league.
Georgia OLB Jarvis Jones
I assume the clamoring for Jarvis Jones comes from the same motivation that causes my desire for the drafting of Keke Mingo. Fans assume the statistics mean Jones is the superior player.
Over the course of his career, I suppose it's possible that Jones could become a better NFL pass-rusher. From and the advanced metrics used in this 2013 NFL Draft's top pass-rushers piece, I humbly disagree.
Still, Jones does possess the ability to become an elite pass-rusher. If he can avoid any significant injured reserve time (he has a spinal stenosis injury), Jones might actually become one of the steals of this draft.
Washington CB Desmond Trufant
Trufant is the other player, after Mingo, that I prefer the Saints select. The reasons are plentiful.
Firstly, Trufant is the finest man-to-man cover corner in this draft. He is nasty, physical and possesses all the traits to become a "shutdown corner," which in my opinion does not even really exist in the NFL anymore (save for Richard Sherman).
Yet Trufant could become that guy. He would instantly make the Saints better against the pass as he locks down one side of the field. Keenan Lewis will lock down the other half with a similar playing style.
The pass rush would be taken care of simply by shutting down opposing receivers. It's win-win, no?
Texas S Kenny Vaccaro
Vaccaro would be an acceptable selection. The film shows Vacarro to be a player who does everything well. The only real concern is whether he's a playmaker.
He is a lockdown man-to-man cover guy who can also play in the box. His deep coverage skills would help Keenan Lewis and whoever starts opposite him at the other corner spot, as they'd be able to cheat a bit on short routes.
Georgia ILB Alec Ogletree
Several fans and analysts have invited the Alec Ogletree discussion into their conscience and seemingly allowed it to become infallible to them. Okay—that is definitely a bit far—but it's unfathomable to me how "Ogletree to the Saints" makes any logical sense whatsoever.
Sure, Ogletree is a nice talent and a player with some unique physical gifts. But inside linebacker is one of two spots (defensive end the other) where the Saints have zero concerns headed into 2013. I'm not sure how adding Ogletree makes the 2013 defense any better.
Maybe some are thinking he could make the switch to outside linebacker? Maybe some assume with the Saints cutting Jonathan Vilma's deal earlier this offseason, the team could simply cut him?
Maybe some think David Hawthorne and Curtis Lofton are not somehow better than a rookie who has some serious questions to answer before he starts in the NFL?
Again, Ogletree is talented. There is a case for him, though it's a difficult one to make in relation to the Saints.
Clearly fans are conflicted in who they want the Saints to select in the first round of the 2013 draft, though it seems most desire a defensive player. I suppose most of us can agree on that basic premise.