With the 13th pick in the 2015 Arrowhead Pride mock draft, New Orleans Saints GM sktthesystem31 selects...
Let's not make this pick any tougher than it has to be. The Saints had the worst Defense in the NFL in 2015. Maybe the stats don't clarify it as the worst overall, but damn did it sure look like it. So I'd have to imagine the No. 13 pick is going to be used on a defensive player. Sure, a tight end to replace Jimmy Graham is critical, but there are no tight ends in this draft that warrant a selection that high, let alone in the first round in my opinion. I even entertained the idea of a guard (La'el Collins?) at this spot because of the loss of Ben Grubbs, but the addition of Max Unger at center will more than help compensate for that loss.
Going into the offseason, I would have rated the top four defensive needs as:
- Pass Rusher
After FA signings and trade additions:
- Pass Rusher
The Saints did their best to fix a horrendous secondary in 2014 with limited funds, by signing Brandon Browner and Kyle Wilson. Along with their current safeties, Jarius Byrd and Kenny Vaccaro, all four had down years in 2014, but there is reason / optimism to believe each player will / could have a better year in 2015. Given the fact that the Saints have at least tried to fix their secondary this offseason, as opposed to completely ignoring a legitimate pass rusher (Anthony Spencer = YAWN), I believe OLB is the No. 1 position of need for the Saints (Had Trae Waynes been available, though, he would have been an excellent selection at this pick). As the Saints GM, I'd have to imagine the top five DEFENSIVE players on my draft board (in no particular order) would look something like this:
- Malcom Brown
- Randy Gregory
- Bud Dupree
- Marcus Peters
- Jalen Collins
Ok, this pick just became tougher than it had to be .... a front line that consists of Malcom Brown and Cameron Jordan would potentially murder the o-lines of Carolina, Tampa Bay, and Atlanta. Cameron Jordan is also in a contract year and the Saints may see Brown as a suitable replacement. Brown will not instantly fix the pass rush that this team lacks, though. In order for the Saints secondary to play better in 2015, this team needs to see a significant rise from the sacks their OLBs (not named Junior Galette) registered in 2014. This pick has to come down to Randy Gregory vs. Bud Dupree, the two best pass rushers left after Dante Fowler Jr, Shane Ray, and Vic Beasley came off the board. On one hand you have a high character player and on the other a player that has shown very questionable judgment. As a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs, though, I have seen firsthand that a player should not simply be dismissed because of a failed drug test. "You're in here, for some marijuana? Man, this is some BS!"
The New Orleans Saints select ...
Nebraska DE / LB Randy Gregory
I really struggled with this decision, but I think this comes down to consistency and immediate pass rush skill. Gregory is your classic boom/bust pick with a very high ceiling and low floor. He's going to be under the tutelage of a very good D-coordinator in Rob Ryan, however, and I believe that alone will help tremendously in him not becoming a bust. Honestly, the thing that sold me on this pick was Mike Mayock's updated positional rankings in which he lists Randy Gregory as his No. 2 pass rusher, despite his failed drug test. Sold.
Mock draft order
13 Saints - LB Randy Gregory