3 - Akiem Hicks, DT, Regina (6-5, 318); 4 - Nick Toon, WR, Wisconsin (6-2, 215); 5 - Corey White, S, Samford (6-0, 206); 6 - Andrew Tiller, OG, Syracuse (6-4, 324); 7 - Marcel Jones, OT, Nebraska (6-6, 320)
Top Picks Analysis: The Saints were forced to be bystanders while the majority of the top-tier talent came off the board, as last season's trade-up for running back Mark Ingram and the penalty for being caught organizing a well- publicized bounty program on defense left the defending NFC South champs without a pick in the first two rounds. When New Orleans finally entered the fray, it chose an intriguing yet risky prospect in Hicks near the end of the second day. He's a former coveted recruit by LSU who wound up playing in Canada after being declared ineligible by the NCAA for receiving improper benefits, and offers a tantalizing combination of size and strength that will need to be molded due to his inexperience. Toon, the son of former NFL receiver Al Toon, is more of a finished product who has a chance to crack the Saints' deep arsenal of pass-catchers, provided he can overcome a propensity for injuries and a lack of top-end speed and separation skills. Fifth-round choice White was a cornerback at the FCS level but is expected to shift to safety in the pros. Athletic and physical in run support, he may have a chance to carve out a role on defense if veteran Roman Harper is hit with a league suspension for his participation in the bounty scandal.
Best Value Pick: Toon's durability issues prevented him from being taken higher, but he's one of this draft's more polished receivers and is capable of working from either the slot or outside.
Questionable Calls: Toon may have been more of a luxury pick for a team that's already stacked at wide receiver and was in need of a pass-rushing defensive end and more bodies at cornerback. Though Hicks could be a player worth gambling on, his rawness makes it likely that the Saints probably won't have a rookie that can make a significant impact out of the first three rounds.
Summary: The Saints aren't going to get much out of this class this season, and it remains to be seen whether unproven prospects like Hicks and White can develop into something down the road. General manager Mickey Loomis could have done worse considering the circumstances, but this isn't an overly special group.
FINAL GRADE: C-