With free agency cooling down, the draft hype will go into overload over the next couple of weeks. The Saints, as usual, addressed most of their needs through free agency to give themselves the green light to take their highest graded player at 27th.
I went back and forth with my selection but ultimately the first round in my mock draft looks like this:
1.) Houston – Blake Bortles QB, Central Florida
2.) St. Louis- Sammy Watkins WR, Clemson
3.) Jacksonville- Jadeveon Clowney DE, South Carolina
4.) Cleveland- Greg Robinson, OT Auburn
5.) Oakland- Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M
6.) Atlanta- Khalil Mack OLB Buffalo
7.) Tampa Bay- Taylor Lewan OT Michigan
8.) Minnesota- Teddy Bridgewater QB Louisville
9.) Buffalo- Jake Matthews, OT Texas A&M
10.) Detroit- Justin Gilbert CB Oklahoma St.
11.) Tennessee- Anthony Barr OLB UCLA
12.) NY Giants- Aaron Donald DT Pittsburgh.
13.) St.Louis- Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix S Alabama
14.) Chicago- Timmy Jernigan- DT Florida St.
15.) Pittsburgh- Darqueze Dennard CB Michigan St.
16.) Dallas- Louis Nix DT Notre Dame
17.) Baltimore- Calvin Pryor S Louisville
18.) New York Jets- Mike Evans WR Texas A&M
19.) Miami- Zack Martin OT Notre Dame
20.) Arizona- Kony Ealy DE Missouri
21.) Green Bay- Eric Ebron TE North Carolina
22.) Philadelphia- Odell Beckham, JR. LSU
23.) Kansas City- Marquise Lee WR USC
24.) Cincinnati- Jason Verrett, CB TCU
25.) San Diego- Brandin Cooks WR Oregon St.
26.) Cleveland- Derek Carr QB Fresno St.
27.) New Orleans- Kyle Fuller, CB Virginia Tech
If Beckham, Cooks or even Lee are available here, I think the Saints grab one of them. I just don't think they will be available.
I went with Fuller because at 6'0, I think he is the type of corner the Saints are now looking for. Last year they brought in Keenan Lewis who, at 6'1, was very effective in press coverage by using his length to re-route receivers. If Fuller can get a little stronger, he can provide that on the opposite side of Lewis. He also led his team in tackles for loss his junior year, which shows he is not afraid to provide run support.
While the Saints don't draft on need, Fuller does fill a major one on defense with the release of Jabari Greer.
28.) Carolina- Kelvin Benjamin, WR Florida St.
29.) New England- Dee Ford OLB Auburn
30.) San Francisco- Stephon Tuitt DT Notre Dame
31.) Denver- C.J. Mosley LB Alabama