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2013 NFL Draft: What the Saints may be thinking in round one

If Barkevious Mingo is there at the 15th pick overall, I think the New Orleans Saints would probably take him. I know the front office thinks he is a good character person and would fit in their 3-4 defensive scheme as a rush linebacker.

The former LSU defensive end would be learning a new position however and is only in the 240-pound range. There is also a chance he will get picked off before the Saints select; I have heard specifically that the New York Jets at the ninth spot like him a great deal as do other teams picking before the Saints.

Jarvis Jones, playmaking outside linebacker from Georgia, is another prospect whot would fit into the Saints 3-4 defense as a rush linebacker. He is probably the most explosive pass rusher in this draft but has spinal stenosis, a medical concern which could take him off some draft boards around the league. However, I have learned he is not off the Saints draft board yet could slide down a bit in round one due to a sub-par pro day where he ran only a 4.9 in the 40. His play on the field has been super, so if he gets to the 15th pick, Jones could be the guy New Orleans cannot pass up.

The Saints had defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson in for a visit and like his athletic ability. Buit he is a solid player who weighs in at just 294 pounds, a bit light to play inside at the nose and tends to get pushed around at that weight when playing between the guards. He may get a look at defensive end in the 3-4 scheme but not at the 15th overall selection.

Richardson has a personality that may end up turning off the Saints though; he seems to think a lot of himself and may be a bit of a "me guy" who takes confidence a bit too far. He doesn't really look that big when seeing him in person, meaning the Missouri product doesn't fully fit the eye test.

The three top offensive lineman will most likely be gone when the Saints pick, and if all of the defensive prospects on their board are gone do they take the best player at 15, wide receiver Tavon Austin West Virginia is an outstanding player, he has speed in the 4.3 range, runs like a rabbit, and can line up at many positions on the field, however he is 5-9 175 pounds and the Saints have a history of taking bigger wide receivers.

Cordarrelle Patterson, the big wide receiver out of Tennessee, has speed in the mid-4.4 range as well. is a talented receiver but has had only one year of college production.

I like inside linebacker Kevin Minter of LSU, who should go at the bottom of round one. If the Saints decide to trade down and gain another draft pick, he could be someone they take. It may be hard to trade down and bring back a second round to replace the one forfeited for the bounty scandal, but New Orleans could pull in another third rounder and grab a solid player like the early-entry Bengal Tiger.

New Orleans only has five selections in this draft, so they can certainly use more picks. If the Saints trade running back Chris Ivory, they could pick up another selection. He was tendered as a second round selection, but they won't get that for him. Anywhere from a third to a fifth rounder is the likely return for the bruising runner who the Saints likely cannot afford with their salary cap crunch and solid depth at the running back position.

The safety position and specifically top safety Kenny Vaccaro out of Texas could present real temptation if the Saints stay at 15 while trading later in the round makes Florida International's Jonathan Cyprien a real possibility as the same position.

A raw offensive tackle, Menelik Watson from Florida State, is moving up the draft boards and looks to be a second round projection now with the possibility of sliding into round one. He has a lot of athletic ability but is very raw, having played in only 20 college games. He would be a guy for the Saints to look at if they trade down, but I think they grab a tackle in the middle rounds instead.

I will update when I gather more information as the draft approaches at month's end.

Contact Al about his draft publication; it rates 700 prospects. E mail -- This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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