The 2014 NFL Draft is less than a week away, so without further adieu, here is a look at the New Orleans Saints’ seven-round mock draft.
Round 1, Pick 27- Brandin Cooks, Wide Receiver, Oregon State
Cooks is an explosive, dynamic playmaker. Drafting him fills one of the greatest needs for the Saints, adding speed and athleticism to a group that needs an injection of youth and playmaking ability. Cooks has a track background, can take the top off the defense, run all the routes, and play in the slot or on the outside. In addition, he can be an exciting option on kick and punt returns. He is just too exciting of a player to pass up for the offensive minded Sean Payton.
Round 2, Pick 58-Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Cornerback, Nebraska
The Saints get themselves another possible starter at a position of need. At 6-foot-3, Jean-Baptiste fits the mold of a Seattle Seahawks corner that every team is trying to emulate. His height and length allows Jean-Baptiste to get physical in bump and run coverage. However, despite his size he is very fluid in his hip movement. His one drawback to his tentativeness in playing the run. However, Jean-Baptiste is still the perfect physical corner Rob Ryan covets and he would round out a revamped secondary.
Round 3, Pick 91-Chris Smith, Outside Linebacker, Arkansas
Rob Ryan loves versatility. Smith is exactly that. He possess the speed to stand up at the outside linebacker position in the 3-4, but he is stout enough to put his hand in the ground in the 4-3. Productive in his last two seasons in the SEC, he racked up 18 sacks. He has some limitations physically, but his versatility will be too attractive for Ryan is pass up.
Round 4, Pick 126-Max Bullough, Inside Linebacker, Michigan State
Tough, gritty, strong, smart. Ryan would love to have a linebacker like this as a part of his defense. He isn’t as athletic as Ryan may want him to be, but he has experience leading a top notch defense while he was at Michigan State, one of the stoutest defenses in college football. Though he didn’t post good explosive numbers in the vertical or broad jump, his bench press was the best at his position. Bullough will add good depth to David Hawthorne and Curtis Lofton on the inside.
Round 5, Pick 167-Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Offensive Tackle, McGill University
It wouldn’t be a Saints’ draft if they didn’t find a late-round small school offensive lineman. Duvernay-Tardif is a Quebec, Canada native weighing 320 pounds. He is expected to be a top pick in the CFL draft, but a 4th-5th round pick in the NFL. He is very raw, but has the physical tools and IQ to excel. He wouldn’t contribute immediately, but could sit behind Zach Strief and work to be his heir apparent.
Round 5, Pick 169-Wesley Johnson, Offensive Tackle, Vanderbilt
The Saints double down on offensive lineman in the 5th round and take Johnson. Though the label on him is offensive tackle, at Vanderbilt, he played center and guard as well. The Saints take him for depth and the versatility he will bring. He can compete with Tim Lelito for the center spot, since he has experience at center. Besides the physical tools, he displayed great intangibles and leadership at Vanderbilt.
Round 6, Pick 202-Marcel Jensen, Tight End, Fresno State
Jimmy Graham hasn’t signed a long term deal yet. This is not to say he won’t be- there is a less than 5 percent chance Graham isn’t a Saint for the rest of his prime. However, just in case there is an outlandish scenario where the Saints can’t keep Graham, they prepare themselves with late round flyer Jensen. He isn’t Graham by any stretch of the imagination, but he is very tall and a fluid route runner and receiver. Though he is extremely raw, he will be a nice developmental project for the Saints’ coaching staff.