The Saints sit in an enviable position at No. 15 in a draft that doesn’t necessarily have the immediate impact players but is deep in guys who could be long-term solutions.
New Orleans needs more defensive help than offensive and where they sit and in this particular draft, that’s not a bad thing. There are players to be had for the Saints who will be available.
While the Saints certainly could trade down – or trade up in the right situation – it’s likely New Orleans grabs a player at a position of need and goes home happy tonight.
Outside LB, 6-foot-2, 245 pounds
University of Georgia
Jones may be the biggest wild card of the bunch. He’s undoubtedly a game-changer at the position, as seen by transformation Georgia’s defense took once he arrived after transferring from Southern California.
But he also comes with an asterisk. He left USC because team doctors wouldn’t clear him after he was discovered to have spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the open area of the spinal column.
Still, the numbers don’t lie. With Jones in the lineup, UGA’s sacks increased by 11 from 2010 to 2011 and the quarterback pressures rose by 29. In 2012, Jones finished with 14½ sacks and 39 quarterback pressures.
He was a finalist for the Butkus Award for the nation’s best linebacker in both 2011 and 2012.
Defensive Tackle, 6-foot-2, 313 pounds
University of North Carolina
Williams hasn’t played a lot of football in his life, playing only one year in high school. But what he lacks in experience he makes up for in getting things done on the field.
The beefy tackle started every game of his career at UNC and Coffeyville Community College and finished with 184 tackles and 15½ sacks. In his pre-draft agility tests, the big man ran the 40-yard dash in 5.03 seconds, bench-pressed 225 pounds 27 times and did the three-cone drill in 7.93 seconds.
He has a nearly 78½ wingspan, which helped him thwart off double teams he often faced.
Safety, 6-foot-0, 214 pounds
University of Texas
Vaccaro is largely considered to be a first-round level safety, one that an NFL-compiled scouting report said is “built like a Cover-2 linebacker with closing speed and downhill ability to attack the line of scrimmage.”
He finished his senior season with 107 tackles, two forced fumbles and two interceptions. In four seasons at Texas, he finished with five interceptions and stared 32 of 51 games, including 15 at strong safety and 13 at free safety.
Vaccaro’s agility test numbers could have teams intrigued for a safety. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.59, has a 38-inch vertical jump and a 10-1 broad jump.
Outside/Inside LB, 6-foot-2, 242 pounds
University of Georgia
Ogletree can either be boom or bust. He’s one of those “character” guys, someone who served a four-game suspension at UGA for a positive drug test. Shortly before the combine, he was arrested for DUI.
But if the Saints deem those issues aberrations, Ogletree could be a good fit in the 3-4 defense. As a junior, his final season at UGA, he finished with double-digit tackles six times, including 11 against Alabama in the SEC Championship game. He finished the year with 111 tackles, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and one interception. In three years at Georgia, he had six sacks and 20 tackles for a loss.
The reviews on his game by scouts say he reacts quickly to what’s happening in front of him and that he rarely plays out of position. He’s a guy who can play back in coverage or be a force against the run, finding the ball behind linemen.
Defensive End/Outside LB, 6-foot-4, 241 pounds
Louisiana State University
Mingo doesn’t need an introduction to WWLTV.com’s readership. A game-changer in high school at West Monroe and a game-changer in college at LSU, Mingo could slip down to his home state team and be a game-changer in the pros.
Though some may feel like Mingo underachieved at LSU, he was surrounded by NFL talent and didn’t see the playing time he likely would have at other schools. And he still finished with 15 career sack and 29 tackles for a loss.
Mingo ran one of the top 40-yard dashes for his position at a 4.58 and has a 37-inch vertical leap, all good attributes for a 3-4 defense. He showed his most versatility as a redshirt sophomore, dropping back as a linebacker at times while rushing the quarterback from the defensive end position, where he had a team-high 11 quarterback pressures.