2011 NFL Draft Grades: All 32 1st Round Picks, Saints Take Cameron Jordan
2011 NFL Draft Grades See Saints Take Best Defensive End Available in Cameron Jordan
The New Orleans Saints entered the 2011 NFL Draft with three primary positions of concern: defensive end, defensive tackle and running back.
The Saints had 33 sacks last season, but most of that came from their linebacking corps. Defensive ends Will Smith and Alex Brown, although effective overall, were certainly no stalwarts rushing the passer.
Also, evident by their NFC Wild Card playoff matchup against Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle Seahawks, the Saints needed a run-stuffer at defensive tackle.
And with Pierre Thomas and injury-prone and Reggie Bush not appearing to be a full-fledged feature back, they needed to infuse their backfield with a possibly youthful incumbent.
The Saints opted for Cal defensive end Cameron Jordan at No. 24, an explosive, athletic pass-rusher that figured to go much higher before the draft began.
Not only was Jordan an athletic pass-rusher that translated nicely to the NFL, he was consistent, with six sacks in back-to-back years at Cal.
With Baylor DT Phil Taylor gone at this point, some people believe the Saints should have gone after Temple defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson. But I believe Wilkerson, although potentially a star in the NFL, is not a true run-stopper. I see him as a pass-rushing defensive end in a 3-4 scheme, not a 4-3. I believe the Saints thought the same.
In that regard, the Saints hit a home run with this pick, grabbing a player in Jordan that has immense talent and potential, and was expected by some experts (myself included) to go as early as No. 12 to the Minnesota Vikings.
They filled a need with the best 4-3 defensive end in the draft at that point.
For complete draft coverage, check out Bleacher Report's NFL Draft Hub.
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