Apr 27, 2009

Saints Address Defense in Draft

The New Orleans Saints outlined their offseason outlook with musts, needs and wants. They stuck with musts and needs and focused on the defense in the draft. Here's a look at the Saints picks:

Rd. 1, Pick 14: Malcolm Jenkins, DB, Ohio State
Rd. 4, Pick 116: Chip Vaughn, S, Wake Forest
Rd. 4, Pick 118: Stanley Arnoux, LB, Wake Forest
Rd. 5, Pick 164: Thomas Morstead, P, SMU

The Saints did the right thing in the first round in taking Jenkins. He was the top DB in the draft and fills a glaring need for the team. He'll start out at corner but could be tried at safety as well. With Beanie Wells sitting on the board, many draft analysts thought the Saints might go for the RB. They got Jenkins instead, but tried to trade back into the round to get Wells, so they obviously thought highly of Wells. I'm glad they didn't end up trading back because it would have cost next year's first rounder, in what many believe to be a better draft.

In the fourth round many Saints fans thought the team would go with Liberty RB Rashad Jennings, but instead the team stayed on the defensive side and took a pair for Wake Forest. Jennings ended up going in the 7th round, so there were some question marks about him. Vaughn was a good pick and he'll compete at the safety spot as a rookie. Arnoux will provide good depth after playing both middle and weakside linebacker in college. Some felt he was a bit of a reach in the 4th round, but without many picks, the Saints had to take the guy they wanted then.

In the 5th round, the Saints surprised many fans by trading up. They gave up their 7th rounder and 5th next year to take a punter. What?!?! I originally hated this pick because I felt Glenn Pakulak did a good job last year, but the coaches wanted more consistency from the punter. Fans don't get to see practices and aren't privy to gameplans so we have no idea if a punt is kicked in the wrong area or when there's a mistake on special teams like out-kicking coverage. If Morstead brings a bigger leg and more consistency to the position, then I'm fine with the choice. Morestead is supposed have good hang-time and abilty to directionally kick, but he does get kicks block and isn't quick to get the ball off his foot.

All-in-all it was a solid, small draft for the Saints. Mickey Loomis said they'll sign about 10 UDFA, so those names will start coming out in the next day or so. Here's a look at some of the early signings that have been released:

CB Danny Gorrer (Texas A&M)
OG Cedric Dockery (Texas)
WR Chris Vaughn (Louisville)
OT Augustus Parrish (Kent State)
LB Jonathan Casillas (Wisconsin)

Here's a look at some of the grades the Saints draft has received:

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