New Orleans Saints 2013 Draft Preview
By John McMullen, NFL Editor
(Sports Network) - With Sean Payton back in 2013, expect the New Orleans offense to be back to its high-powered self with a few tweaks.
The Saints really need to improve the edges entrusted to protect Drew Brees. Right tackle Zach Strief wasn't all that impressive in 2012 and left tackle Jermon Bushrod, who is overrated anyway, left in free agency to Chicago.
Payton has said that the team's left tackle spot keeps him up at night, which makes the position a possible first-round target.
New Orleans also needs to add depth at receiver behind Marques Colston and Lance Moore, and find a new backup for Brees after Chase Daniel signed with Kansas City.
The Saints defense was a mess in '12, finishing at the bottom of the league in a number of defensive categories. When Payton returned he fired coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and hired Rob Ryan to make the switch to 3-4 scheme, meaning the team must fine fits for that philosophy whether it means a true nose tackle, a five-technique end or edge pass rushers.
The top three left tackles figure to be off the board when New Orleans selects at No. 15 and the fourth, whether you believe it's D.J. Fluker from Alabama or Menelik Watson from Florida State, probably isn't worthy of being selected that high.
Instead keep an eye on a pair of edge pass rushers, the raw Ezekiel Ansah from BYU and perhaps Georgia tweener Jarvis Jones, a player whose poor 40-yard dash times have sent crashing out of the top 10 but could be a Terrell Suggs-like steal.
2012 Record: 7-9
Top Needs: DL, LB, OT
First Three Picks: No. 15, No. 75, No. 109
Number of Selections: 5 (1, 3, 4, 5, 6)
RECENT FIRST ROUND HISTORY: 2012 - none; 2011 - Cameron Jordan (DE, California), Mark Ingram (RB, Alabama); 2010 - Patrick Robinson (CB, Florida State); 2009 - Malcolm Jenkins (DB, Ohio State); 2008 - Sedrick Ellis (DT, USC); 2007 - Robert Meachem (WR, Tennessee); 2006 - Reggie Bush (RB, USC); 2005 - Jammal Brown (OT, Oklahoma); 2004 - Will Smith (DE, Ohio State); 2003 - Johnathan Sullivan (DT, Georgia); 2002 - Donte Stallworth (WR, Tennessee), Charles Grant (DE, Georgia).
04/15 13:13:35 ET