Josh Norris

Draft Decisions

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NFL Draft Needs: Saints

Thursday, April 20, 2017


Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential draft-day solutions.

 

For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.

 

 

Saints Team Need No. 1: Defensive Line

 

Silva’s Analysis

 

The Saints have only two players worth hanging their hats on in their defensive front: DT Sheldon Rankins and RE Cameron Jordan. The team did well to retain talented up-field penetrator Nick Fairley, although his track record suggests Fairley is a year-by-year proposition. New Orleans has allowed a league-high 930 points over the past two seasons, good for 29.1 per game. This roster desperately needs pass rushers and run stuffers.

 

 

Saints No. 2 Team Need: Cornerback

 

Silva’s Analysis

 

The 2016 Saints fielded a rag-tag cornerback corps, playing a host of undrafted rookies and street free agents and frequently resorting to in-game and weekly benchings due to those players’ ineffectiveness. Only LCB Delvin Breaux has flashed starting-caliber ability among the returnees, and he fractured his fibula last September before suffering a year-ending shoulder injury in Week 15. The Saints realize this weakness based on their flirtations with Patriots’ restricted free agent CB Malcolm Butler.

 

Saints No. 3 Team Need: Linebacker

 

Silva’s Analysis

 

As you might expect, every level of the defense gets touched on here. The Saints’ third-most-glaring defensive need is linebacker, where 2016 addition James Laurinaitis was a predictable flop and 2015 first-round pick Stephone Anthony has been a bust.

 

 

Other Considerations: Running Back, Quarterback, Wide Receiver

 

 

2017 NFL Draft: More coverage here

 

 

Norris’ Mock Draft


Round 1 (11): EDGE Charles Harris, Missouri - The earliest I could see Harris off the board is No. 6 to the Jets. The latest is No. 15 to the Colts. Harris is a joy to watch when rushing the passer, winning with upfield explosion and a swim move as well as countering with an inside spin. His pro day workout showed an average athlete. I can work with average athletes, not non-NFL athletes.

 

Round 1 (32): CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama - Humphrey is frequently mentioned as a first-round corner. Some teams have questions, others like his athleticism and experience in Alabama’s system. I worry a bit about the big plays he allowed, in terms of the combination of 20-plus yard receptions, touchdowns and penalties.

 

Round 2 (42): LB Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt - I doubt Cunningham lands in the top-32, but he could be a second-round target for a number of teams. He played a bit on the outside as well as inside linebacker. The Saints could deploy him from a variety of gaps.

 

Round 3 (76): QB Nathan Peterman, Pitt - There’s enough buzz on Peterman to think the latest he’s on the board is round three. Round two is definitely possible. A number of teams mentioned they were impressed with Peterman when watching Tyler Boyd in 2016.

 

Round 3 (103): RB Kareem Hunt, Toledo -  Mark Ingram saw fewer touches at times last season due to fumbling issues. Enter Kareem Hunt, who never fumbles and has talent to succeed as a runner and receiver. His balance is great.

 

Round 6 (196): DL Roderick Henderson, Alabama State - Late round, small school, big bodied defensive tackle.

 

Round 7 (229): WR Speedy Noil, Texas A&M - The talent is undeniable. As is his time in Texas A&M’s doghouse.



Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Josh Norris



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