(Part two of three parts. Next Wednesday morning, April 28, look here for a fuller explanation of why the top few picks will be chosen by the Saints….)
For today: Upon further reflection, I still think that New Orleans Saints GM Mickey Loomis and head coach Sean Payton will trade down in the first round because, by pick 13, edge rushers Vic Beasley, Dante Fowler, and Bud Dupree will already be taken, as will offensive linemen Brandon Scherff and La’el Collins and cornerback Trae Waynes – all of whom they might have been targeting as possibilities at 13. But I do not think anymore that Loomis will panic early in the second round and trade up for the chance to grab edge rusher Eli Harold. Instead, he’ll hold tight at pick number 44 – and that will necessitate a number of changes to my prediction list.
Without further ado, then (with explanations after the list), here’s how my old list compares to my new one.
Rd 1, spot 22 (after trading down): Erick Kendricks, ILB, UCLA
Rd 1, spot 31: Luke Fisher, OT, Oregon
Rd. 2 (after trade up), spot 34: Eli Harold, edge rusher, Virginia
Rd 2, spot 56 (from the Kendricks trade): Ali Marpet, OL, Hobart
Rd. 3, spot 78: Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn
Rd 4, spot 109 (from the Harold trade): Steven Nelson, CB, Oregon State
Rd. 5, spot 146 (slight trade up): Nick O’Leary, TE, Florida State
Rd 5, spot 154: Leterrius Walton, DT, Central Michigan
Rd 6, spot 184 (from Harold Trade): Ray Drew, DL, Georgia
Rd. 6, spot 187: Davis Tull, OLB, Chattanooga
Rd 1, spot 22: Erick Kendricks, ILB
Rd 1, spot 31: Luke Fisher, OT
Rd 2. Spot 44: Nate Orchard, edge rusher, Utah
Rd 2, spot 56 : Ali Marpet, OL
Rd. 3, spot 75, Sammie Coates, WR
Rd. 3, spot 78, Xavier Cooper, DT, Washington State
Rd 5, spot 146 (tiny trade up): Nick O’Leary, TE
Rd 5, spot 154, Jacorey Shepherd, CB, Kansas
Rd 6, spot 187, Davis Tull, OLB
So there’s your list. I actually think this one works better anyway. I was underwhelmed by the film I watched of Eli Harold. Ten picks later, Orchard of Utah should still be available, but I think he will actually do better than Harold. He had 18 ½ sacks (!!!) this past year. You can’t get that kind of productivity, even against slightly lesser competition, unless you flat-out have a will and an instinct for the big play.
And by not trading up, and thus keeping a second pick in the third round as well, the Saints get DT Xavier Cooper, about whom I have read great things.
With the possible exception of Sammie Coates, all of these guys are high-character, high-effort, highly coachable players.
Anyway, these are your new Saints draftees.
See you in the Super Bowl!