2010 NFL Mock Draft, Fans' Pick Edition: No. 32 - New Orleans Saints
What strange territory for the Saints -- picking 32nd overall with few glaring weaknesses to fill. So strange, in fact, that I highly doubt the team stays in that spot.
You hear talk about how enviable it is to be the Rams on draft day, as picking first on the second day gives them a night to re-organize their board and listen to trade offers from teams who covet a player and are willing to deal picks to ensure they get the guy they want. But that same phenomenon benefits the Saints; if a team is worried someone will leapfrog them into the Rams' 33rd pick, the natural inclination will be to move to 32nd and go home on Day 1 without the stress.
A deep draft benefits any Saints' decision to trade down especially if the first round plays out as it has in our Fan Mock Draft; with few clear-cut impact players at positions of need (especially at tight end and safety), the team can feel safe moving back 10 or so picks and getting a comparable talent to go with an extra pick or two.
That being said, you don't have the option of trading down in this mock, so you'll have to make do with what's available. What isn't available is the player the Saints appear to like most in real life -- Sean Weatherspoon. But there are a few options on the table who can come in and help the team.
Previous Pick: Colts -- Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland
Jerry Hughes, DE/OLB, TCU; Everson Griffen, DE/OLB, USC: These types of 'tweener hybrid end/linebackers have never really been much of an option for the Saints, who have historically run a 4-3 defense. But Gregg Williams' defense, while still technically a 4-3, switches from game to game, series to series, and adapts to the players on the field. So if the Saints feel Hughes or Griffen has the talent to help them rush the passer more (where they need help), they'll take one and figure out how to make it work later.
Brian Price, DT, UCLA: Not necessarily the large nose tackle the Saints really need to start in the middle of their defensive line, but the stout Price has strength and explosiveness to get a push off the ball. He's also a guy that fits in with the Saints' character.
Charles Brown, OT, USC; Rodger Saffold, OT, Indiana: It seems weird for the Saints to go offense here, especially at tackle where they have two guys who have made Pro Bowls (Jammal Brown and Jon Stinchcomb) along with two really solid backups (Jermon Bushrod and Zach Strief) on the roster. But restricted free agent Brown is heavily rumored to be involved in a draft-day deal, given the team's depth at the position and Brown's injury and contract status. If so, the team will need another tackle to develop. The first round might be too high for a player who might not see the starting lineup for 2-3 years, if at all, but this Saints regime has shown a fondness for drafting offensive linemen to stockpile, and if they think one is clearly better than the rest of the players available, it wouldn't be a shocking pick.
Daryl Washington, OLB, TCU: This year's Jerod Mayo? Washington, long-thought a solid second-round prospect, could get picked at the bottom of the first round, just as Mayo went much earlier than most anticipated. The word on Washington is that whoever lands him is going to get a great player with athletic skills who's a solid tackler. With Weatherspoon taken and outside linebacker by far the team's biggest position need, Washington's range can greatly benefit the Saints' defense.