Breaking Down Mel Kiper Jr. & Todd McShay's Final Draft Projections for Saints
ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay updated their draft projections following the blockbuster trade which sent Darrell Revis from the New York Jets to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 13th pick in the 2013 draft, in addition to other prized picks.
Neither is a wise selection. That doesn't mean the Saints will not take one of the two players these analysts have slotted to them with the 15th overall pick in Thursday's draft. It would simply be unwise for Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton to pull the trigger on one of these two selections.
Let's review Mel Kiper Jr.'s selection first, since he is the elder analyst.
Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Kiper's final mocks are generally pretty accurate in terms of what teams take which players. In Mock Draft 4.1 Kiper gave the Saints Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones.
If Kiper's streak of accuracy holds up in this draft, it will be the redshirt junior transfer from Southern California who ends up playing outside linebacker for the Saints.
Kiper's issue for at least the past decade as a draft analyst is not his ability to correctly slot players. Where Kiper has struggled is in determining just which players should be selected with each pick.
For instance, Kiper has been a huge Matt Barkley fan since he once saw him play in high school. Four years ago, he predicted Barkley would be the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft whenever he left the Southern California.
What grade do you give Kiper's Jones to the Saints pick?
Thankfully Kiper doesn't have Barkley in his first-round mock now. Still, Kiper remains high on Barkley despite the fact the Trojan quarterback should be considered a day three prospect.
The point is to say that his No. 1 grade on Jarvis Jones from earlier in the year should not be taken seriously. Kiper is no more than a reporter at this point. Jones probably is the likely pick at No. 15.
Should he be? Absolutely not.
At best, he's the third best pass-rusher in the draft. More likely, he's a future bust who will never be more than a five-sack-per-season player who contributes little else against the run or on special teams.
As for Todd McShay, he went a different route. One could say it's a bit unconventional.
D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
Todd McShay gets in the film room from time to time, so it's not as if this is a completely uninformed decision. While McShay's preference for Fluker over Menelik Watson is hard to fathom, at least it is done in part on film review.
One of Fluker's most eye-popping detractors is the fact Alabama chose to start a freshman at left tackle instead of sliding Fluker to A.J. McCarron's blind side in 2012. It could probably be more easily explained that since Fluker played on the right side before 2012, the Alabama coaches figured it would be wise to just let him be.
Then again, if that theory is in fact the one that caused Nick Saban to keep Fluker on the right side, then any and all NFL teams should be concerned about Fluker's versatility and, more importantly, his football IQ.
What grade do you give McShay's Fluker to the Saints pick?
Granted, it is all hearsay. Perhaps Fluker is an intelligent player who is simply physically incapable of playing on the left side. Still, if that theory aligns with reality, Fluker should not be a first-round pick, and certainly not the 15th pick in the draft.
There is little on film, or in any other evaluation method, to suggest that Fluker can be an NFL left tackle. There's even little to suggest he can be an NFL right tackle. It seems more likely that Fluker is destined for a guard spot.
The Saints do not need another guard. That is the one spot on the offensive line where the team is more than comfortable.
In other words, Fluker would be an equally likely bust candidate as Jones.
One thing Kiper and McShay have done well, at least in their most recent mock drafts, is identify the Saints' needs. Outside linebacker and offensive tackle have to be the Saints' two largest needs heading into the first round of Thursday's draft.
If at all possible the Saints should draft a player with the 15th pick who plays one of those two positions. It just should not be Jones or Fluker.
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