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2016 NFL mock draft: Jaylon Smith comes off the board early

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With the 12th pick in the 2016 Arrowhead Pride mock draft, Saints GM starry1 selects....

One of Drew’s favorite targets, Marques Colston, lost a step in 2015 and was subsequently cut this offseason. While incredibly tempting to replace Drew’s loss with another big, sure-handed WR - I mean who doesn’t love to see the patented Brees long ball? - one cannot simply ignore the fact that the Saints’ defense ranked dead last among all 32 teams for the 2015 season. Their defense is so bad it needs to be pulled like the diseased-riddled molar it is and replaced with a shiny new implant.

Exhibit A

As you can see from Pennsatucky’s mouth in Exhibit A, there is more open space than there are positions filled, so too is the Saints’ toothless defense. Boasting only two passable players, head coach Sean Payton needs a defense that should be rebuilt from the ground up through the draft since the Saints are working with the projected fourth smallest cap space in 2016.

Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith

Before his injury in the Fiesta Bowl, Jaylon Smith was high on most draft boards and for very good reason. He has a size / speed combination that is hard to pass up and an athleticism that makes him an excellent fit for both 3-4 and 4-3 defenses. In addition, he is easily converted to an edge rusher with the rare, true hybrid ability to play any spot on the line with dominant stopping power.

Most commonly compared to our own Derrick Johnson, the only reason he might fall out of the first round is because of medical concerns, but he’s just too talented to fall any further than the second, especially with so many teams (most especially New Orleans) desperate for a quality edge rusher. Anyone hesitant to take him in the first round, almost certainly won’t get another shot at him in the second. What better way for New Orleans to start rebuilding their d-Line than with a guy who can do it all.

1. Titans - OT Laremy Tunsil

2. Browns - OT Ronnie Stanley

3. Chargers - CB Jalen Ramsey

4. Cowboys - DE Joey Bosa

5. Jaguars - LB Myles Jack

6. Ravens - DL DeForest Buckner

7. 49ers - QB Carson Wentz

8. Eagles - QB Jared Goff

9. Bucs - WR Laquon Treadwell

10. Giants - RB Ezekiel Elliott

11. Bears - CB Vernon Hargreaves

12. Saints - LB Jaylon Smith

13. Dolphins -