As the draft draws ever nearer, it seems unlikely that the slightly more heralded LSU product, Barkevious Mingo, will be available when the Saints’ selection at No. 15 pops up next Thursday. The Saints will, or should, then turn to this draft’s 1b pass-rusher, Alex Okafor.
Rob Ryan played two true defensive ends—Demarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer—at outside linebacker the past two seasons. Don’t think the thick Okafor won’t be asked to do the same. At 6’5”, 264 pounds, Okafor may seem like a better fit as a 4-3 DE. Don’t believe that lie. He is more than capable of excelling in a 3-4.
He is more than capable of holding the point of attack against the run—which is a major requirement in Ryan’s defense. He’ll be able to cover running back and tight ends just well enough—which frankly, Ryan would never ask of him anyway.
Most importantly, he’s the most complete pass-rusher in this draft. That’s what the Saints need. If Mingo is unavailable, Okafor is the obvious selection.