Following the loss of Jermon Bushrod to the Chicago Bears via free agency, the New Orleans Saints are extremely thin at the left tackle position. They haven’t made any improvements on the blindside this offseason, but appear to have their sights set on Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson as a potential remedy.
The only problem is that Johnson will likely be gone by the time the Saints are on the clock at No. 15 during the 2013 NFL Draft. Would they be willing to leapfrog the San Diego Chargers at No. 11 in order to snag Johnson? If head coach Sean Payton is as unhappy with the injury-prone Charles Brown as he appears to be, it seems logical.
“I look at that spot [on the depth chart] like there’s a magnet without a name on it,” Payton said back in late March.
Currently sitting at No. 10 are the Tennessee Titans, who would likely welcome a move down the first-round order. They have numerous needs, including guard and defensive end, which could easily be addressed at No. 15. The only problem that could arise is compensation, as the Saints have little trade bait to work with in terms of extra draft picks.
After forfeiting their second-round pick due to the “Bounty Gate” scandal and trading their seventh-rounder to the Seattle Seahawks, the Saints have only one pick in the first, third, fourth, fifth and sixth rounds. Considering the exponential decrease in pick value as you move down the draft, finding a fair trade to move up five spots might not be an easy task for the Saints without parting with most of their picks.
According to the pick value chart on WalterFootball.com, there’s a 250-point difference between the No. 10 and No. 15 picks. In order to close that gap and swap first-rounders with the Titans, the Saints would also have to surrender their third- and fifth-round picks. Seeing as they received no compensatory draft picks, New Orleans would be left with only three selections (first, fourth, sixth) to work with. That’s unsettling for a team still rebuilding its way back from a disappointing 2012 campaign.
While adding Johnson would be big for the Saints, leaving themselves with only two other picks would be an extremely steep price to pay. It’s a tempting trade, but the Saints just don’t have the assets to make that kind of deal.
Using all of your thread to sew up one wound while leaving so many others untreated just doesn’t make sense.