The 2013 BRB Mock Draft resumes with FreeRange delivering the Saints' pick at No. 15 this morning.
With a Saints defense that ranked last or next to last in every major defensive category, and no viable OT available at the 15th pick, a defensive pick is the obvious choice to make. But which one?
With Rob Ryan bringing his aggressive 3-4 defense to the Big Easy, the Saints' front office has been active this offseason, with their two major signings being Keenan Lewis, the former Steelers cornerback who led the NFL with 23 passes broken up last season, and Victor Butler, an outside linebacker who played for Ryan in Dallas in 2012. Bringing in Lewis somewhat shores up the secondary, and Butler should be a serviceable if unspectacular starter for the Saints next year.
Ideally I would love to bring in a premier pass rusher to give Ryan a DeMarcus Ware clone to build his defense around. With the Dolphins' selection of Barkevious Mingo, my dreams of adding a premier pass rusher were dashed.
My sights then turned to adding Star Lotulelei, who was found sliding out of the top ten due to health concerns with the thinking being that adding a premier defensive tackle with top-ten talent at pick 15 would be a great value. Alas, that dream was also stolen from me.
Now I find myself in an interesting position. The Saints have only 5 picks, no 2nd rounder, and a lot of holes to fill. They should be looking to trade down in this deep draft and avoid reaching for a need pick. As this is a one round draft, however, I will find myself doing just precisely what the Saints should avoid doing.
Long story short, my possible selections have boiled down to defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson and safety Kenny Vaccaro. Vaccaro, out of Texas, is an instinctive and versatile athlete who can fill a variety of needs in a beleaguered Saints secondary, but has been known to be too aggressive and has a reputation as a poor tackler. Richardson, out of Missouri, has a rare combination of size and athleticism that if channeled properly can make him a force in the middle of any defense; however, some question his work ethic and he has relatively little experience facing top competition, as he only started one season for Mizzou.
With the Saints being forced into a corner with this pick, I believe they need to swing for the fences to get the value they need. Vaccaro has the potential to be an above-average player in the NFL, but the Saints need a potential game-changer. Thus, the pick is going to be Sheldon Richardson, who with the right motivation and continued improvement has the potential to be the top defensive tackle in this draft.
Summary: With the 15th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints select Sheldon Richardson (DT--Missouri).
FreeRange shouldn't feel bad about this pick. Richardson should be a player, and I wouldn't consider him a reach at 15. The fact that I applaud this pick virtually ensures Richardson will be the new Amobi Okoye, but I digress. The aptly named gm.in.waiting and his St. Louis Rams are now on the clock. That pick is due to me by noon CDT and will be posted at 4 p.m. CDT today.
1. Kansas City Chiefs--Luke Joeckel (OT--Texas A&M)
2. Jacksonville Jaguars--Eric Fisher (OT--Central Michigan)
3. Oakland Raiders--Sharrif Floyd (DT--Florida)
4. Philadelphia Eagles--Dee Milliner (CB--Alabama)
5. Detroit Lions--Jarvis Jones (LB--Georgia)
6. Cleveland Browns--Keenan Allen (WR--Cal)
7. Arizona Cardinals--Chance Warmack (OG--Alabama)
8. Buffalo Bills--Geno Smith (QB--West Virginia)
9. New York Jets--Dion Jordan (DE/OLB--Oregon)
10. Tennessee Titans--Ezekial Ansah (DE--BYU)
11. San Diego Chargers--Lane Johnson (OT--Oklahoma)
12. Miami Dolphins--Barkevious Mingo (DE/OLB--LSU)
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers--Tavon Austin (WR--West Virginia)
14. Carolina Panthers--Star Lotulelei (DT--Utah)
15. New Orleans Saints--Sheldon Richardson (DT--Missouri)
16. St. Louis Rams--gm.in.waiting
17. Pittsburgh Steelers--clornelas
18. Dallas Cowboys--astrosbro95
19. New York Giants--UprootedTexan
20. Chicago Bears--RedWhitePaws
21. Cincinnati Bengals--McKnight299
22. St. Louis Rams--gm.in.waiting
23. Minnesota Vikings--The Night Owl
24. Indianapolis Colts--ckone
25. Minnesota Vikings--The Night Owl
26. Green Bay Packers--krkenney
27. Houston Texans--BRB Staff
28. Denver Broncos--Capt Ron
29. New England Patriots--MaloneyPony
30. Atlanta Falcons--riversmccown
31. San Francisco 49ers--TexansDC
32. Baltimore Ravens--Cougfan