With a 5-8 overall record, the Saints are playing for pride as they close out the 2012 season.
Normally, I wait until the annual Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama to unveil my first mock draft. But because the Saints focus is now on next season, why wait!
After watching the Saints struggle in all phases of the game this season it’s hard to put a finger on what position they’ll target in the 1st round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Because of the Saints defensive woes this season — coupled with the age and high salaries of Will Smith, Jon Vilma and Sederick Ellis, all of whom I expect to be gone in 2013 — I believe that the Saints will shake-up the defensive front seven. Using their 1st round draft pick to find a play-maker who can get the QB will be priority number #1.
An area like offensive tackle or even cornerback could also be address but look for the Saints (who’ll more than likely be selecting anywhere between #9 & #16 in the 1st round) to find a DE, DT or LB in the first round.
The guy I like for the Saints in the 1st round:
Saints 2013 1st Round Draft Pick:
Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah/DE/BYU
6’6, 270 lbs.
I’ll get a better look at Ansah at the Senior Bowl in Mobile — but right now he’s the guy who intrigues me the most.
A former track athlete from Ghana, Ansah hadn’t even seen a football game until he came to the United States. Ansah has size and speed and could emerge as a star pass-rusher in Steve Spagnuolo’s system (think Jason Pierre-Paul with the NY Giants). Adding a player like Ansah and putting him on the D-line with players like Akiem Hicks and Cam Jordan could turn a Saints weakness into a strength.
Most people will tell me Ansah is a “reach” — I think those people are wrong. Like most, I like Bjoern Werner from Florida State more than any other 4-3 defensive end in the 2013 draft, but I can’t see him falling past the top 7 picks.
I also like LSU’s Sam Montgomery but think Ansah will emerge as a better pass-rusher.
Many draft experts have University of Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan as the Saints 2013 1st round draft pick — but Jordan seems more like a 3-4 OLB to me.
So, Ansah is my guy!
NO 2nd ROUND DRAFT PICK (forfeited as part of bounty punishment)
Saints 2013 3rd Round Draft Pick:
David Bass/DE/Missouri Western State University
6’5, 270 lbs.
Yes, I have the Saints taking two project defensive ends with their first two selections in the 2013 NFL Draft. I’ve poured over youtube video and read every clip I could find on both of these guys and I like them both. One or both of these guys could emerge as the defensive version of Jimmy Graham. Ansah & Bass have the size to be 4-3 DE’s and the upside to provide the rush Steve Spagnuolo needs from the DE’s.
Rounds 4-7 coming in January.