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2011 NFL Mock Draft: The New Orleans Saints Select...

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The 2011 Arrowhead Pride Mock Draft continues with The Other Patrick Allen choosing for the New Orleans Saints at No. 23...

Everybody knows the story of the New Orleans Saints over the past several years. Hurricane Katrina. New Head Coach Sean Payton. New QB Drew Brees. The amazing game against Mike Vick and the Falcons to reopen the Superdome. A Super Bowl Championship in 2009. It's a story that is as wonderful as it is over-told. I mean do we really have to hear about it every single game? Or every time some clown writes up a Saints mock draft piece? I mean come on.

That's why I've decided not to mention the story at all and instead decided to get right down to the business at hand.

The 2010 New Orleans Saints did a pretty decent job avoiding the Super Bowl Hangover. After finishing the season with an 11-5 record, they were able to secure the #5 seed in the NFC playoffs. In fact, if kicker Garrett Hartley doesn't miss a 29 yard field goal against the Falcons in OT back in week 3, the Saints very likely would have been division champs and would have had home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. Of course, Hartley did miss that field goal and the Saints' season was rewarded with a trip to Seattle to play probably the worst playoff team in history, the 7-9 Seahawks. The Saints were promptly handed a 41-36 loss in a game that after 17 unanswered 2nd quarter Seahawk points, never really seemed like the Saints were destined to win. And oh by the way the 41 points surrendered is not a typo. The Saints defense which was so opportunistic and crucial to their Super Bowl run, gave up 41 points to the anemic Seahawks offensive that boasted Matt Hasselback as the starting quarterback and Marshawn Lynch as the featured runner. Can you guess on which side of the ball my pick is going to be?

Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis have made five first round picks since Payton's arrival in NOLA and all have been reasonable and some downright no brainers. Here's the list:

  • 2006 - Reggie Bush (RB, USC)
  • 2007 - Robert Meachem (WR, Tennessee)
  • 2008 - Sedrick Ellis (DT, USC)
  • 2009 - Malcolm Jenkins (DB, Ohio State)
  • 2010 - Patrick Robinson (CB, Florida State)

I would argue that Bush and Ellis were no brainers and the rest were good, solid picks at the time. We could argue all day about whether these guys turned out to be worth their respective selections (Reggie comes to mind), but none stick out as an Al Davis-esque pick. Another thing you might notice is there's no real pattern or trends. It's a small sample size but it would appear to me that Payton is not much of a gambler when it comes to his first round picks. That's right, I don't think we'll see Payton pull a Ditka and trade his entire draft to move up to number 1 (my lord, did that actually happen??). I also don't see him pulling a Matt "How Do I Still Have a Job That Is Even Remotely Associated With Football?" Millen move and going DB three years in a row.

What I do see Payton doing is addressing one of the Saints biggest weaknesses: the pass rush. Ahh, the pass rush. Not only is it a need for the Saints, it is also, in my opinion, the second most important thing you need to be a consistently successful team in the NFL.

Will Smith had 5.5 sacks coming off the edge last season and no other DE had more than 3. Smith is a solid starter and is effective against both the run and pass. But the Saints need that elite pass rusher, they need their Tamba. And that's why with the 24th pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints select:

Justin Houston, DE University of Georgia

Houston has bulked up in the offseason to 270 pounds which makes him just about right for a 4-3 DE. His strength is definitely the pass rush which makes him a perfect match opposite of Will Smith. Some will ask why not Akeem Ayers? Well I just don't see Ayers as stout enough to play in a 4-3 and I think many teams see him only as a 3-4 OLB.

So there it is. What do you guys think?

Full Schedule And Results:

1. Carolina Panthers (ChiefsFan90s) - Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert

2. Denver Broncos (craig in calgary) - Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers

3. Buffalo Bills (Arrowdread) - Auburn QB Cam Newton

4. Cincinnati Bengals (Dirty South Chiefs Fan) - Georgia WR A.J. Green

5. Arizona Cardinals (tmurawsk) - Texas A&M OLB Von Miller

6. Cleveland Browns (H2E) - Auburn DT Nick Fairley

7. San Francisco 49ers (Another Successful Tedford QB) - LSU CB Patrick Peterson

8. Tennessee Titans (ejr58) - Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara

9. Dallas Cowboys (IamtheGreatest) - Alabama DL Marcell Dareus

10. Washington Redskins (nmchief) - Alabama WR Julio Jones

11. Houston Texans (FalconMF27) - Missouri DE Aldon Smith

12. Minnesota Vikings (Raven Hawk) - USC OT Tyron Smith

13. Detroit Lions (Matt Hays) - Boston College OT Anthony Castanzo

14. St. Louis Rams (Sam D) - Illinois DT Corey Liuget

15. Miami Dolphins (YerganFlurgan) - Alabama RB Mark Ingram

16. Jacksonville Jaguars (GenericBrand) - Cal DE Cameron Jordan

17. New England Patriots (averagegatsby) - Temple DE Muhammad Wilkerson

18. San Diego Chargers (Chiefscafan58) - North Carolina DE Robert Quinn

19. New York Giants (flowers 24) - Florida C Mike Pouncey

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (PSUkegreen) - Purdue DE Ryan Kerrigan

21. Kansas City Chiefs (Matt_Grbac) - Baylor NT Phil Taylor

22. Indianapolis Colts (saskwatch) - Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi

23. Philadelphia Eagles (OnlyKCFanNVA) - Colorado OT Nate Solder

24. New Orleans Saints (The Other Patrick Allen) - Georgia DE/LB Justin Houston

25. Seattle Seahawks (Simon from KC) - Friday April 1st

26. Baltimore Ravens (Ben S) - Monday April 4th

27. Atlanta Falcons (stagdsp) - Monday April 4th

28. New England Patriots (averagegatsby) - Monday April 4th

29. Chicago Bears (KillaCity107) - Tuesday April 5th

30. New York Jets (bradelli58) - Tuesday April 5th

31. Pittsburgh Steelers (scottchief) - Tuesday April 5th

32. Green Bay Packers (Aesthetist) - Wednesday April 6th

Round Two

33. New England Patriots (averagegatsby) - Wednesday April 6th

34. Buffalo Bills (Arrowdread) - Wednesday April 6th

35. Cincinnati Bengals (Dirty South Chiefs Fan) - Thursday April 7th

36. Denver Broncos (craig in calgary) - Thursday April 7th

37. Cleveland Browns (H2E) - Thursday April 7th

38. Arizona Cardinals (tmurawsk) - Friday April 8th

39.Tennessee Titans (ejr58) - Friday April 8th

40. Dallas Cowboys (IamtheGreatest) - Friday April 8th

41. Washington Redskins (nmchief) - Monday April 11th

42. Houston Texans (FalconMF27) - Monday April 11th

43. Minnesota Vikings (Raven Hawk) - Monday April 11th

44. Detroit Lions (Matt Hays) - Tuesday April 12th

45. San Francisco 49ers (Another Successful Tedford QB) - Tuesday April 12th

46. Denver Broncos (craig in calgary) - Tuesday April 12th

47. St. Louis Rams (Sam D) - Wednesday April 13th

48. Oakland Raiders (mushin) - Wednesday April 13th

49. Jacksonville Jaguars (GenericBrand) - Wednesday April 13th

50. San Diego Chargers (Chiefsfaninca58) - Thursday April 14th

51. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (PSUkegreen) - Thursday April 14th

52. New York Giants (flowers 24) - Thursday April 14th

53. Kansas City Chiefs (Matt_Grbac) - Friday April 15th

54. Indianapolis Colts (saskwatch) - Friday April 15th

55. Philadelphia Eagles (OnlyKCFanNVA) - Friday April 15th

56. New Orleans Saints (The Other Patrick Allen) - Monday April 18th

57. Seattle Seahawks (Simon from KC) - Monday April 18th

58. Baltimore Ravens (Ben S) - Monday April 18th

59. Atlanta Falcons (stagdsp) - Tuesday April 19th

60. New England Patriots (averagegatsby) - Tuesday April 19th

61. Chicago Bears (KillaCity107) - Tuesday April 19th

62. New York Jets (bradelli58) - Wednesday April 20th

63. Pittsburgh Steelers (scottchief) - Wednesday April 20th

64. Green Bay Packers (Aesthetist) - Wednesday April 20th