Saints select Odell Beckham #KRM

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Tom Moore, proprietor of RedRight88, pulls himself away from his current personal joy that is the Liverpool Football Club to select on behalf of the Saints this morning. 


The New Orleans Saints are entering an interesting time in franchise history.

For the past eight years, the Saints have been set at quarterback with Drew Brees running the show.  In that time they have made five playoff appearances and captured a Super Bowl.  But Brees just turned 35 years old, and while he has only missed one start during his time with the Saints, he is certainly much closer to the end than he is the beginning.

With that in mind, the Saints have to decide the best direction to go come draft day.

The Saints have tight end Jimmy Graham and wide receiver Marques Colston, but after releasing veteran wide receiver Lance Moore they are thin at the receiver position.  In addition to Colston, the current roster includes Chris Givens, Charles Hawkins, Joe Morgan, Kenny Stills, Andy Tanner and Nick Toon – a group that has a combined 46 career receptions.

Clearly, the Saints need help here and, as luck would have it, this year’s draft class is deep at wide receiver.

Florida State v Clemson

Adding Benjamin would give Brees three targets over 6-4.

Candidates on offense

Kelvin Benjamin
Colston is 6-foot-4 and Graham is 6-foot-7, so if New Orleans wants to give Brees another big target to aim for, they could select Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin, who is 6-5.

According to his NFL.com profile, Benjamin is “a tight end-sized, intimidating, big-play receiver with a rare wingspan, (one who) has the overall strength, length and wide catching radius that will demand extra coverage be rolled his way. Showed continual improvement, is still growing into the position, and possesses the traits to become a legitimate No. 1 receiver. A very intriguing mismatch weapon with ascending talent.”

With opposing defenses having to focus on Colston (an average of 78 receptions, 1,077 yards and seven touchdowns over the past five seasons) and Graham (average of 90 receptions, 1,169 yards and 12 touchdown receptions over the past three seasons, Benjamin would be a third option, allowing him to grow into the position.

Odell Beckham
The Saints could also go the hometown route (a favorite ploy of Ohio State fanboys everywhere) and select LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham, the Paul Hornung Award winner as the nation’s most versatile player in 2013.

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Could the pride of Isadore Newman High School come home?

Beckham is a “talented, competitive, productive, inconsistent college split end who projects as a big-play receiver in the pros. Offers versatility to toggle between “X,” “Z” and slot given his ability to stretch the field and run after the catch. Brings added value as a kick returner.”

A player that offers versatility in the passing game? Sounds like someone who would be appealing to Saints head coach Sean Payton.

Candidates on defense

On the defensive side of the ball the Saints were a surprise last year (at least to us) under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.  After two underwhelming years in Dallas where Ryan’s defense was 16th and the n 24th in points allowed, Ryan came to New Orleans in 2013 and the Saints finished fourth in the NFL in points allowed and fourth in sacks.

The team was busy in free agency, signing safety Jairus Byrd to replace Roman Harper and cornerback Champ Bailey to replace Jabari Greer. Even with those moves they could still use help in the secondary, especially at cornerback as Bailey will be 36 by the time the season starts this fall and talked about retirement last year in Denver.

Jason Verrett
If they decide that they need help now, rather than taking a risk that they can get 16 games from Bailey, the Saints could look at TCU cornerback Jason Verrett, the co-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.

Jason Verrett, Kevin White

Verrett + Keenan Lewis = formidable cornerback tandem.

Verrett is “a tough, scrappy, undersized nickel back with potential to ascend to a No. 2 CB if he can stay in one piece. Is not the physical prototype for the position, but compensates with outstanding athleticism, blazing speed and a tenacious temperament. Is a terrific football player who boasts toughness and competitiveness.”

The concern with Verrett is his health. He had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in the spring of 2012, suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee and had surgery in January of 2013, and suffered a torn labrum last season, which was surgically repaired in March. That’s a lot of mileage for a player who hasn’t even stepped on the field for an NFL team.

C.J. Mosley
If Verrett’s injury history scares off the Saints, they could take a look at Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley, the Butkus Award winner and SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2013.

Mosley is a “smart, instinctive, fast-flowing, every-down linebacker capable of manning any position in a “40” front or steering a defense from the weak side in a “30” front, where he starred for a national-championship defense as a junior and carried the Tide as a senior. Has the football temperament, desire and work habits to emerge as a tackling machine in the pros. Has Pro Bowl potential.”

demarcus lawrence

Feared by MWC o-linemen.

Sounds like someone that Ryan could do some damage with.

While the Saints were fourth in the NFL last season in sacks, playing in a division where you have to face Carolina’s Cam Newton and Atlanta’s Matt Ryan twice a year may mean the Saints subscribe to the theory that “you can’t have too many pass rushers,” which means they could look at Boise State’s Demarcus Lawrence or Auburn’s Dee Ford.

Demarcus Lawrence
Lawrence is described as “a loose, explosive, long-limbed athlete, (one who) consistently pressures the edge and harasses quarterbacks. His pass-rushing ability rates among the best in this year’s class, and he holds mass appeal. Lacks ideal stoutness at the point of attack, but could thrive as a 4-3 right end or 3-4 rush linebacker, and should contribute readily on passing downs.”1

dee ford

‘Piano playing’ continues not show up in mainstream scouting reports. ??

Dee Ford
Ford is a “high-motor college left defensive end perhaps suited for a rush linebacker role in the pros. Has added more than 50 pounds to his frame since arriving on campus and has demonstrated the desire, work habits and competitiveness to develop into a productive edge rusher if he can stay healthy and is programmed to go get the quarterback only.”

The pick.

So, the Saints are on the clock … what’s the pick?

As appealing as it may be to go defense, New Orleans needs to max out on offensive weapons for Brees while they still can. Even if the defense has some holes in it, with another offensive threat on the field, Brees should be able to outscore the opposition most weeks.

While Benjamin is an intriguing option, the Saints will go the hometown route and, for the 10th time in franchise history, select a player from LSU: Odell Beckham.


Thank you Tom, up next is the guy who kicked this all off with the Texans and Blake Bortles, our man in Singapore,

JPFTribe for the Panthers.
Pick #TeamSelection
(linked to KRM post)
Reader
1TexansBlake Bortlesjpftribe
2RamsGreg RobinsonDave Kolonich
3JaguarsSammy WatkinsClevTA
4BrownsJadeveon ClowneyZarathustra
5RaidersKhalil MackPete Franklin
6FalconsJake MatthewsOXR
7BucsJohnny ManzielPeterM
8VikingsTeddy Bridgewatertrashycamaro
9BillsTaylor Lewanclay
10LionsHa’Sean Clinton-Dixbluedog93
11TitansAnthony Barrkanick
12GiantsEric EbronRod of Disaster
13RamsMike EvansMatt Borcas
14BearsAaron DonaldJRich
15SteelersDarqueze Dennard tmoore94
16CowboysLouis NixGrandRapidsRustlers
17RavensJustin GilbertMGBode
18JetsBrandin CooksZarathustra
19DolphinsZack Martintrashycamaro
20CardinalsCalvin PryorJRich
21PackersJace AmaroClevTA
22EaglesMarqise LeeGrandRapidsRustlers
23ChiefsRa'Shede Hagemanclay
24BengalsBradley RobyOXR
25ChargersKyle Fullertexinottawa
26BrownsDerek CarrChuckKoz
27SaintsOdell Beckham tmoore94
28PanthersXavier Su'a-Filojpftribe
29PatriotsTimmy Jerniganbluedog93
30NinersJason VerrettRod of Disaster
31BroncosCJ MosleyPete Franklin
32SeahawksCameron FlemingDave Kolonich
33 (2nd rd)TexansTroy NiklasMatt Borcas
34RedskinsStephon Tuittkanick
35BrownsRyan ShazierMGBode
36Raiders
  1. Lawrence went way up on my radar with this quote from Brugler:  When talking to several offensive linemen at the Combine, there was a common theme – many said Lawrence was one of the toughest pass rushers they’ve faced. [back]
  • mgbode

    Saints lost Sproles, so ensuring they don’t lose the explosive athlete in that system is key and Beckham certainly provides it. I think he or Mosley makes the most sense and either works by me.

  • jpftribe

    Latest NFL mock has Browns taking Watkins, Bridgewater and Hyde. That would be good by me.

  • CLEVTA

    I think the Saints can survive with Colston, Stills (I really like) and Givens along with using a 2nd or 3rd on a WR. Not that he is that good but they did just sign Meachem for depth. As been mentioned many times this WR class is as loaded as ever. They can still get a good WR like Paul Richardson, Moncrief, Landry or dare I say a Sproles replacement in Dri Archer in the 2nd.

    • Saints better not draft Archer in second round because the Browns need him to be there in the third so they can take him.

      • i could see belichick taking archer in the second. talk about a perfect prospect: 4.2-something 40 AND 20 bench reps AND electric body of work. still bothers me that tavon austin got hyped into the top 10 while we haven’t heard boo about archer outside NEO. tbh, i wont be shocked if belichick takes him in the first.

        • Well, Austin was on ESPN every week, especially his senior year, and that exposure definitely helped.

  • jpftribe

    As a Chelsea supporter, I will be in London, Westminster specifically, for the big match on April 27th. The roast before hand will be great, but the pints afterwards will be celebratory. Good luck in Ansfield.

    As Faux Dave Gettleman, I am pissed (and not in a British way) as I would rather see him in Turquoise than black and gold.

    As a Saints fan (which I am not) I think Mosley is the pick here. Makes eminent sense. Best athlete available that falls this far for a team loaded and poised to win. This would be a Patriots / Ravens / Saints kind of pick.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if the Saints pick Mosley. Brees’ age has to be a consideration, and they are so thin at WR. But there are a couple of picks available here that whichever way the team goes would be the right pick.

      A few weeks ago I would have been more worried about Chelsea, but after last week’s game against Man City, and the fact that the game is at Anfield, Liverpool’s not losing. Everything has been going there way and with the title so close, they’re going to pull it off (unless Suarez picks that day to completely lose it).

      The more I watch Brendan Rodgers as a manager, the more I wish we had someone like him here in Cleveland.

      • jpftribe

        Chelsea was our adopted club, saw quite a few games at Stamford Bridge and we lived in Cobham near their training grounds. But it would be good to see Liverpool win it as well. I agree with you on Rodgers. He has them clicking.

        • a decade ago i adopted leicester city because i liked their kits and they were sponsored by a potato chip company.

          so … that didn’t work out recently although looks like you’ll see the foxes in the premiership next year. #relegationsystemforMLB

        • Going to have to be sure to include you on the panel for a 5 questions segment on the World Cup when the time comes.

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