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NFL New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints 2013 NFL Mock Draft, Week 1: 7 Rounds

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New Orleans Saints: 2013 NFL Mock Draft

NFL Draft
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints will only have five picks in the 2013 NFL draft and they will definitely need to use them wisely. As many will recall, the Saints lost their second round pick as a result of the alleged bounty scandal that took place in New Orleans. Also, the Saints do not have a seventh round draft pick either and will pick in every round except the second and last rounds.

With only five picks, the Saints will need to do their homework and try to bring in the best talent that can help the team. It is no secret that the Saints’ biggest need is on the defensive side of the ball as the team had a terrible showing defensively last season. Former defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was replaced by Rob Ryan and the Saints will look to revamp their defense yet again.

With Ryan at the helm of the defense, the Saints will be changing their defensive scheme from a 4-3 to a 3-4. With their first pick, the Saints will need to try and draft a difference maker for the defensive line. Furthermore, the team desperately needs an effective pass rusher and lucky for the Saints, this year’s draft class is full of pass rushers.

The Saints will obviously need help across the board on the defensive end so I would look for them to draft some players for the secondary where they struggled mightily last season. For the Saints, the 2013 NFL draft should be all about defense and if they draft the right players, the team could take dramatic strides with their defense.

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First Round: Barkevious Mingo, Linebacker, LSU

Barkevious Mingo
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

With the 15th overall pick the Saints should select linebacker Barkevious Mingo out of LSU. The Saints love to draft local products and if Mingo is available at 15 he would be too much for the team to pass up. Mingo fits perfectly with what the Saints want to do on defense as he is an explosive 3-4 outside linebacker. Furthermore, at 6’5” 240 pounds Mingo is an extremely athletic linebacker that possesses incredible speed for his size. The best thing about Mingo is his quick first step, and he uses his speed to blow right past blockers to make the tackle.

During his three years at LSU, Mingo recorded 119 tackles, 29 of those for a loss, and he also had an incredible 15 sacks. Pass rushing is Mingo’s specialty and that is exactly what the Saints need to bolster their defensive line. Mingo should be a lock to go to the Saints at 15 and this would be the smartest pick to make for the team.

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Third Round: William Gholston, Defensive End, Michigan State

William Gholston
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints need all the help they can get on the defensive line so it would make sense for the team to draft back to back for the defensive line. With their third round pick, the Saints should draft Michigan State defensive end, William Gholston. Gholston had a good career at Michigan State as he made 142 tackles and 10 sacks during his three years with the team.

One thing that stands out about Gholston is his frame. Gholston stands at an impressive 6’7” 278 pounds and could develop into a very effective pass rusher. The Saints are looking for pass rushers and Gholston’s versatility could be most appealing. During the 2012 season, Gholston defended 10 passes and his long arms make him a valuable pass swatter. Gholston would fit perfectly with the Saints as a 3-4 defensive end and would be great value if the Saints can nab him with their third-round pick.

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Fourth Round: J.J. Wilcox, Safety, Georgia Southern

J.J. Wilcox
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Besides their defensive line, the Saints also must improve in their secondary. The fourth round is still early enough that the Saints could still find a quality safety there. With their fourth-round pick, the Saints should consider drafting safety J.J. Wilcox out of Georgia Southern. Wilcox is an intriguing prospect considering that he spent his first three seasons as a wide receiver.

However, in his senior year Wilcox converted to a strong safety and actually had a pretty good season. Wilcox recorded 88 tackles and two interceptions during his lone season at safety. The Saints could definitely afford to use some help at safety as Roman Harper is not getting any younger. Wilcox has shown that he can excel in man-coverage and he is also a very versatile player.

The Saints love players that excel in more than one area as evidenced by Darren Sproles and Travaris Cadet. If the Saints draft Wilcox, he could be another utility player that can do it all. In addition to playing receiver and safety in college, Wilcox also served as a return man and averaged 24 yards per return. If the Saints can get Wilcox in the fourth round, he could prove to be quite a steal for the team.

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Fifth Round: Tyrann Mathieu, Cornerback, LSU

Tyrann Mathieu
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Tyrann Mathieu to the Saints, it could happen. The Honey Badger’s stock has fallen tremendously due to his off-field issues, and he could fall to the Saints. The former LSU standout could actually help the Saints a great deal because if you take away all the off-field issues you have an outstanding football player that is relentless on defense. If Mathieu falls to the Saints in the fifth round, would the team take a chance on him?

The Saints should absolutely take a chance on Mathieu because he is a ball hawk with great instincts and despite being undersized, he has the ability to make big plays. During his two seasons at LSU, the former Heisman Trophy finalist recorded 133 tackles, six sacks, four interceptions, and defended 19 passes. The Saints desperately need a spark plug in their secondary and Mathieu could provide that for them. If the Saints can get Mathieu with their fifth round pick, I think they should take a chance on him because his talent is too much to pass up.

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Sixth Round: Tanner Hawkinson, Offensive Tackle, Kansas

Tanner Hawkinson
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

With their last pick, the Saints should look to add some depth on the offensive line especially if the team is unable to re-sign Jermon Bushrod. Offensive tackle Tanner Hawkinson out of Kansas would be a safe pick for the Saints here because he could provide great depth for the team. Hawkinson was scouted as a tight end when he came to Kansas, but he added 70 pounds to his frame to become the team’s starting left tackle. At 6’5” 298 pounds, Hawkinson is still a little undersized for left tackle, but there is so much to like about him.

Hawkinson is very durable as he holds the Kansas record for most starts and consecutive starts with 48. Hawkinson is also fairly quick on his feet and excels against pass rushers. Furthermore, Hawkinson’s athleticism makes him an effective run blocker as he is able to get out and become a lead blocker at times. With their last pick, the Saints could use an insurance policy on the offensive line and Hawkinson would be a great pick for the team.