2014 NFL Draft: New Orleans Saints’ Early Seven-Round Mock
New Orleans Saints' Seven-Round Mock
Despite getting off to a 7-2 start to their 2013 campaign, it’s never too early for the New Orleans Saints to start looking towards the offseason and the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. Several spots on their roster could use an upgrade or extra depth, and there’s no better way to make the necessary adjustments than the draft.
Of those areas needing improvement, one of the biggest concerns is at left tackle. Charles Brown has been a liability since taking over as the Saints’ blindside blocker, giving up far too much pressure on Drew Brees through the first nine games. If the team wants to keep their quarterback healthy and keep their winning ways going in 2014, they need to find a better left tackle.
The Saints still need help elsewhere, too. The outside linebacker spot has been a bit of a liability this season, so an upgrade is definitely warranted. Even though offensive tackle is a major concern, the Saints could also use help on the interior of the offensive line as depth has been scarce in 2013. Some extra depth in the defensive secondary also wouldn’t hurt moving forward.
Either way, the Saints need to make the most of their draft picks in May. The 2014 NFL Draft will offer New Orleans an opportunity to keep their roster fresh while filling the few holes that have presented themselves through the first half of the 2013 season.
With that in mind, here’s a look at what the Saints could choose to do with their six current draft picks when the 2014 NFL Draft finally rolls around.
1st Round: Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford
While their 3-4 defense has been outstanding under Rob Ryan, the Saints could still use an upgrade at outside linebacker. Junior Gallette has played well, but Parys Haralson hasn’t been what they thought he would be. Murphy would bring a dynamic pass rushing presence to the New Orleans defense, but also has a strong résumé as both a run defender and cover man. He’s been one of the key pieces to a dominant Stanford defense for years, and should be an immediate contributor for the Saints.
2nd Round: La’el Collins, OT, LSU
It’s clear at this point that Brown isn’t the answer at left tackle. He’s given up too much pressure throughout the 2013 campaign, and needs to be replaced with a blindside blocker who can better protect the team’s most valuable asset. Collins is a big, physical tackle with sneaky athleticism and a mean streak. He’s ruthless in run blocking, battling his defender until they’re either on the ground or five yards off the line of scrimmage. The Saints need a better left tackle, and Collins appears to be a good fit.
3rd Round: Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
The Saints have been less than impressive at cornerback this season, especially in the depth department. Moving forward, they need to find a quality cover man who can help in sub packages. That’s where a player like Jean-Baptiste could come in. He’s an outstanding cover man with great closing speed and impressive footwork. While he seems hesitant when playing the run, Jean-Baptiste has the raw abilities to be a reliable cornerback in the NFL.
4th Round: Tyler Larsen, C, Utah State
The offensive line upgrades continue here with a center. Current starter Brian De La Puente is scheduled to be a free agent this offseason, and might not re-sign with the Saints. The only other center on the roster is Tim Lelito, an undrafted rookie who hasn’t shown well in limited snaps this season. By bringing in a player like Larsen, they’d be getting a big, athletic center who does a great job of opening lanes in the running game as well as pass protecting. Larsen is a smart, aware player who should help the Saints’ offensive line moving forward.
5th Round: Ryan Groy, G, Wisconsin
And yet another interior offensive lineman heads for New Orleans as the Saints continue to get bigger and better up front. Even with Ben Grubbs and Jahri Evans at guard, they have little depth at guard – Lelito is the backup for both guards and the center. Groy is a grinder who excels at opening holes in the ground game. Although he still needs some work as a pass protector, the Wisconsin product has the tools to develop into a quality swing man for the Saints.
6th Round: James Morris, ILB, Iowa
Despite a plethora of proven talent at the position, the Saints haven’t gotten great production from their inside linebackers. Even if they can’t find a replacement for their starters during the 2014 offseason, extra depth could be helpful. That’s where a player like Morris makes sense. A two-down run stuffer, Morris hails from an Iowa program known for their linebacking talent. He doesn’t possess the athleticism to play on passing downs, but, with some work, can develop into a situational player.