2008 WDSU SAINTS MOCK DRAFT
(published; Friday 1-25-07)
Saints 1st Round: (10th Overall): Kenny Phillips, FS, University of Miami (6’2, 210)
Why: Josh Bullocks should not be starting in the NFL! Plus, the Saints have shown that in years past they’re going to take best available. If Phillips is still on the board at #10 he’s without question the best available. A guy that can come in right away and play centerfield for a defense. Reportedly Phillips is cut from the same mold as Ed Reed and Sean Taylor. Sure, good linebackers (like Keith Rivers of USC and Penn States Dan Conner) and D-linemen could still be on the board at this point of the draft, but this guy will be the best available at his position at #10 and a guy the Saints could use immediately.
Saints 2nd Round: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tennessee State University (6’2, 180)
Why: Because I thought he was the best cornerback at the Senior Bowl! He also played safety in some of the practices I saw but he looks fast enough to remain at corner. This guy just glides along, long and lean he seems capable of being a good NFL player. Also, not that this means much, but the Saints have had a nice run finding guys in smaller schools that come into the NFL and play big (Marques Colston, Jhari Evans, Usama Young). The only problem with this pick? Rodgers-Cromartie may be off the board by the time the Saints pick in round two!
(Editors note): I think the Saints can’t go wrong by selecting 2 players in the defensive secondary with their first two picks. Without question, the achilles heel of the defense last year was the secondary. Jason David is garbage, Mike McKenzie might not play in ‘08 after tearing his ACL in week 15 and Jason Craft is not the answer. Roman Harper & Usama Young have some potential. Why not start stockpiling and building up the weakest part of the club???
Saints 3rd Round: Brad Cottam, TE, University of Tennessee (6’7, 270)
Why: Because Sean Payton has been searching for a starting tight end since he arrived. Ernie Conwell was always hurt in ‘06. Eric Johnson was brought in to start in ‘07 but had a bum year and may or may not be resigned. Guys like Mark Campbell and Billy Miller are solid back-ups and great locker room guys but I’m not sure if they’re every game starters. Cottam is huge and seemed to impress coaches and scouts at the Senior Bowl. Like my second round selection, Cottam is another guy who might not last this long.
Saints 4th Round: Jeremy Leman, LB, University of Illinois (6’3, 240)
Why: A true middle linebacker who could perhaps replace Mark Simoueau (if Simoneau is even resigned). Leman was the heart and soul of a resurgent Illinois team that made it all the way to the Rose Bowl last season. A solid player and person who graduated from college in 3 years and who would probably fit in nicely into the Saints locker room.
Saints 5th Round: Jonathan Zenon, CB, LSU (6′, 175)
Why: Because when your roster is filled with guys named David, Craft and McKenzie you need all the help you can get at this position. Zenon may not be as physical as the Saints would like him to be but he made big plays at LSU against the top rated passers in the country.
Saints 6th Round: Ben Moffitt, LB, University of South Florida (6’2, 235)
Why: A possible steal in the late rounds. Moffitt was the over achieving team captain of the South Florida Bulls last season. Is he big enough to play in the middle, will he make a good pro? I wouldn’t bet against the guy. If nothing else he’d provide depth at a thin position and perhaps be a solid player on special teams.
Saints 7th Round: Jason Rivers, WR, University of Hawaii ( 6’2, 195)
Why: The top receiver in a prolific college offense. Rivers has good size but doesn’t blow you away with any of his other skills. But here’s what I like about him…I heard one scout at the Sugar Bowl say “Rivers simply runs the route he’s supposed to and catches the ball more often than not.” I like that. Also, with the pending free agency of David Patten, and the ineptitude of Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem getting a good receiver late could be smart.
Free Agent Signees:
As always the Saints will sign a dozen or so free agent players after the draft. Given that Sean Payton is a former quarterback and loves developing guys at this position I would almost guarantee that if they don’t choose a QB in the later rounds then they’ll most certainly sign a free agent QB. Look for a guy like this:
Mark Nicolet, QB, Hillsdale (Michigan) College (6’1, 220)
Why: Arguably the best small college QB in the country. A guy no one has heard of, a player that Payton can mold the same way he did Tony Romo.