NFL New Orleans Saints

2013 NFL Draft: Top 5 Priorities for the New Orleans Saints

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2013 NFL Draft: Top 5 Needs for New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints Draft
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2013 NFL Draft a few weeks away, teams should be finalizing who they want to draft or have backup plans if their guy gets picked earlier. The New Orleans Saints only have five picks in this year’s draft and no picks in the second or seventh rounds. Needless to say, this year’s draft will be crucial for the Saints.

The Saints have plenty of needs that must be addressed, but the biggest ones come on the defensive end. New Orleans had statistically the worst defense in the NFL last season and arguably one of the worst defenses of all time. They fired defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and brought in Rob Ryan to replace him.

The Saints are switching to a 3-4 defensive alignment, so they will be overhauling their defense for the second season in a row. The team is hoping to find some players that will make an impact from the start, and this year’s draft class is deep enough that they should be able to find what they are looking for.

Defense is not the only priority for the Saints though. The departure of Jermon Bushrod leaves a big void at left tackle, and there is currently not anyone on the roster that head coach Sean Payton feels comfortable with at that spot. Furthermore, Payton has recently said that the left tackle position “keeps me up at night.”

An offensive tackle figures to be pretty high on the Saints' list of priorities, and they will probably take one at some point in the draft. Offensive tackle and defense overall are the Saints' biggest needs, but let’s look at some other specific positions the Saints should focus on in the draft.

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5. Nose Tackle

Brodrick Bunkley
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Nose Tackle is one position that the Saints never really needed, but with the 3-4 defense they will be playing it becomes essential. Right now Brodrick Bunkley would be the starting nose tackle for the Saints’ defense, but it would not hurt to add some depth to the position.

Drafting a nose tackle would be a wise move by the Saints because if they plan on sticking with the 3-4 defense, they will need a nose tackle to anchor it. There are plenty of good defensive prospects in this year’s draft, and if the Saints do their homework, which they always do, they should be able to get a quality nose tackle.

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4. Cornerback

Keenan Lewis
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints have improved their secondary somewhat with their offseason acquisitions, but they still have a lot of work to do. Keenan Lewis figures to be an upgrade at cornerback, but the Saints should still look to the draft to bolster their secondary.

Fortunately for the Saints, there should be plenty of quality cornerbacks available in this year's draft. Perhaps they could add a cornerback in the later rounds of the draft to add more depth to their terrible secondary.

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3. Safety

Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints probably need a safety more than a cornerback since the safety play last season was not very good either. Roman Harper is not getting any younger, and the Saints should bring in a younger safety for the future. Furthermore, the Saints have not really been too deep at the position, and it would not hurt to add one come draft day.

The Saints still need a lot of help in the secondary, so bringing in both cornerbacks and safeties makes a lot of sense. They could look for help in the secondary in the later rounds and should pick up a safety along the way.

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2. Offensive Tackle

Charles Brown
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

It is no secret that the Saints need a starting left tackle because it does not seem like Charles Brown will be the answer. The Saints must draft an offensive tackle at some point in the draft, and there is speculation that the team might trade up in the draft to get one.

Sean Payton has stressed the importance of getting an offensive tackle and the Saints haven’t really had much luck in free agency. It would make a lot of sense for them to draft a left tackle, but the question is will they trade up to get one?

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1. Outside Linebacker/Defensive End

New Orleans Saints Defense
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

With their new defense, the Saints need an effective pass rush, and this is something that has been lacking for the past few seasons. Defensive end Will Smith is not getting any younger, and the Saints need more youth and athleticism on the defensive line. With so many quality defensive ends and outside linebackers in this year’s draft, it would make sense for the Saints to use their first round pick to draft one.

The Saints do have good, young defensive ends in Junior Galette and Martez Wilson, and the two will likely see a lot of playing with the new 3-4 defensive scheme. However, it would not hurt to draft another defensive end or outside linebacker to create more depth on the defensive line and improve the pass rush. Drafting a defensive end or outside linebacker is the Saints’ number one priority for the draft, so don’t be surprised if the they grab at least one or two players that will fit the bill.