Apr 29, 2013

Saints' 2013 Draft Class

The 2013 NFL Draft is now in the books, and there was not shortage of storylines. From quarterbacks dropping to Manti Tao going later than expected to the Jets adding their sixth QB to their roster, the Draft is always an exciting time.

On the Saints front, fans can follow the mantra, In Loomis We Trust. Loomis has hit on many late picks over the years and fans know Saints scouts will search far and wide for talent (Hofstra, Bloomberg, Regina) and now they can add Tarleton State to the list.

There was excitement in the first round when many highly ranked prospects dropped, but the Saints went with a guy that had been tied to them in safety Kenny Vaccaro. Some Saints fans wanted Jarvis Jones from Georgia, but Vaccaro helps the backend of the defense, in an area that was certainly needed. The best thing about the pick is it could mean less playing time for Roman Harper, which is a good thing for improving the defense.

Perhaps more exciting than the first round for Saints fans was Round 3, when after sitting idle for all of Round 2, the Saints' turn finally came around and they selected OT Terron Armstead of Arkan sas Pine Bluff.  Then moments later, the Saints were back on the clock, having traded up, to select DT John Jenkins of Georgia. They traded two 4th round picks to move up, but where'd the extra 4th come from? The rumored Chris Ivory trade to the Jets finally happened, so essentially, the Saints turned a luxury running back into an anchor for the new look 3-4 defense.

Here's a look at the Saints 2013 Draft Class:

Round 1, pick 15: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas

 Round 3, pick 75: Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas Pine Bluff

Round 3, pick 82: John Jenkins, DT, Georgia

Round 5, pick 144: Kenny Stills, WR, Oklahoma

Round 6, pick 183: Rufus Johnson, DE/LB, Tarleton State

Looking over the list, the Saints had a solid draft and certainly improved their team. Here's a look at some of the grades the team's five-member draft class has received:
If I had to assign a letter grade on this draft, I think B+ is a fair one, but you don't really know the value of a draft class for 2-3 years.

Apr 25, 2013

Who will the Saints draft?

It's the day of the 2013 NFL Draft, basically Christmas morning for NFL fans as their teams are picking out a new set of toys. The Saints are picking basically in the middle of the 1st round at 15, and it's still anyone's guess where they'll go with the pick. Heck, it still anyone's guess who the top pick is going to be, let alone who will be available at #15.

I can't recall a draft with this much uncertainty before. Its the day of the draft, and there's still talk of guys leaping up into the top 10 (Tavon Austin, D.J. Hayden, Ryan Nassib) or players slipping out of the first round (Geno Smith, Corderelle Patterson, Bjoern Werner). They always say the draft is a crapshoot and that's never been more true than this year.

The Times-Picayune took a sample of 50 mock drafts to see what the Saints were projected to do, and the majority show that LB Jarvis Jones would be the selection. The next highest player was Barkevious Mingo, who is getting a lot of buzz as a top 10 pick. If he slides, I'm sure the Saints would be happy to turn in their card with his name on it.

In the same vein as the Times-Picayune, here's a look at a few mocks and who they have the Saints selecting:
With all that uncertainty, this much is clear, most "experts" have the Saints taking defense in Round 1. BUT ... the Saints have been known to throw out some curveballs in the draft, so I wouldn't be surprised if they went with someone that was unexpected, and that's what makes the draft so much fun. 

If I had to narrow down the pick based on who will likely be available, I think the choice will come down to Jarvis Jones or Kenny Vaccaro, with the team choosing Jones since pass rushers are a more sought after position and safeties can be found later in the draft. If one of the top defensive linemen like Sheldon Richardson or Star Lotulelei is there, they may have to pull the trigger and take them.