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NFL New Orleans Saints

5 NFL Draft Prospects Who Could Be Instant Starters for New Orleans Saints

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5 Draft Prospects That Could Start Right Away in New Orleans

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In the 2013-14 NFL season, the New Orleans Saints saw quite a turnaround. With the return of their head coach Sean Payton, came a return to greatness for the team. From 7-9 to 12-4 is impressive in itself; however, when you also throw in the fact that the team’s defense went from one of the worst in NFL history to a unit that was able to keep opposing offenses under control, you can really start to appreciate the team's accomplishments.

Although a lot of New Orleans' comeback season can be credited to coaching, the fact is that the team is actually loaded with talent, and a lot of it comes straight from the NFL Draft. GM Mickey Loomis has done a great job of finding instant starters through the draft, and that has had a major impact on the team’s success over that past few years.

When looking through the Saints' recent draft history, you will come across players that were able to start for the team as rookies. Guys like Marques Colston, Jahri Evans, and Cameron Jordan are all examples of guys fresh out of the draft that have been able to start right out of college. But perhaps the most impressive thing about their draft success is the fact the team is so good at finding small-school talent that other teams overlook.

The New Orleans Saints have talent on the roster, however, Loomis and Payton know that the team must continue to add talent to the teams' core. They're going to stick to the same plan they've had all along -- daft players that can help out right away and into the future.

Chris Ross is an NFL Draft writer at RantSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter, @prosport-news, "Like" him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

Khalil Mack
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Although the New Orleans defense took major steps forward this season, there is still plenty of room for them to improve. Khalil Mack is a guy that can come in a start right away, and in that defense, Mack would be a star.

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4. Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Taylor Lewan
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The Saints have one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Drew Brees, and the team knows they need to provide him with solid protection. Taylor Lewan, a lineman out of Michigan is a perfect fit. With right tackle Zach Strief hitting free agency, Lewan would be a great addition.

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3. Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

Darqueze Dennard
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Despite, Keenan Lewis’ stellar play, the team needs to continue improving in the secondary, and by picking Darqueze Dennard, they add a player with the potential to shut down his half of the field.

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2. Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State

Kelvin Benjamin National Championship
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Although New Orleans has a deep receiving core, something is missing. The team needs a big red zone target, and Kelvin Benjamin from Florida State is a perfect fit in that role.

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1. Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State

Ryan Shazier
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Ryan Shazier, an outside linebacker out of Ohio State, would have an opportunity to shine for the Saints if they were to take a chance on him. He’s not the most polished player in the draft, but he has star potential.