While it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who follows the Saints, NFL draft experts and scouts continue to predict the Saints selecting a defensive player with their first-round draft pick. Mel Kiper Jr., one of the best known NFL draft gurus had the Saints taking a defensive tackle in the first round in his latest mock draft:
Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple
The Saints must improve their front seven on defense, from the interior to defensive end, and target an outside linebacker. Athletic enough to be a penetrator as a 3-4 defensive end, Wilkerson profiles similarly to Dareus as a guy who can get to the quarterback from the inside of that 4-3. He would be a potential top-10 pick were he to stay in Philadelphia for another year. The Saints get good value without having to trade up at a position of need.
Improving their front seven has been rumored to be the Saints top priority this offseason, and it has shown with their visit from former Browns defensive tackle Shaun Rogers. The team’s players in the front seven lack the true ability to get to the quarterback, a skill at comes at a premium in today’s NFL. With the Saints’ offense looking to continue at their record-setting level, the team needs to work on improving its defense as much as possible while Quarterback Drew Brees is still in his prime.
At the NFL combine, Saints beat writer Mike Tripplett tweeted that many NFL scouts say that this draft is one of the deepest ever for defensive lineman, which is good news for the Saints and their aging defensive end unit.