15. New Orleans Saints - The Draft's 15th pick arrives with all wide receivers and quarterbacks still on the board, but none of its elite offensive linemen. This likely scenario means that the Saints will wait out all 10 minutes trying desperately to trade down.
A star pass rusher like LSU's Barkevious Mingo is a popular pick and a hometown favorite but if the Saints wanted a fast, light, pass rushing specialist, they have only to look on their roster, where Junior Galette, Martez Wilson and Victor Butler have that niche covered. Mingo is certainly a special player and would even be a great value here at 15, but how much the Saints like their existing set of one-trick pony pass rushers - especially former second round pick Martez Wilson - will determine if Mingo is the pick.
Georgia's Jarvis Jones, on the other hand, would play 3-4 outside linebacker with a different skillset. Jones is a fantastic pass rusher but is also a three-down player, with better experience actually playing linebacker - not just pass rusher. Putting on a Saints jersey would alone make him one of the most athletic linebackers in the Sean Payton era for the Saints, and one with the most promise.
Jones' teammate Alec Ogletree is another consideration, a light, fast linebacker with none of Jones' neck condition baggage but plenty of off-field behavior baggage. Ogletree was used by Georgia as a matchup against tight ends over the middle and excelled there, so he could be a neutralizing weapon against Tony Gonzales, Greg Olsen, Jason Witten, Vernon Davis, and other star tight ends on the Saints' schedule. Ogletree has starting experience at safety help his cause to be a three-down linebacker, though the Saints will have to look long at his off-field questions marks. He's just so fast, so violent, and so natural at linebacker, traits the Saints don't really have at linebacker. Rob Ryan is the sort of defensive coordinator that could talk the usually conservative Saints into picking Ogletree.
The top remaining offensive tackle is Alabama's DJ Fluker, and the Saints will have to decide for themselves if this prototypical right tackle is a fit for their left tackle vacancy. 6'4 5/8", 340 pound Fluker has three years of starting experience at a near-Pro program - but all at right tackle in a run-heavy offense. Does he have enough pass rush quicks to protect Brees' blind side and justify the 15th overall pick? Sure he'd be helpful at right tackle too, but the Saints have a veteran titan of their own there in Zach Strief.
More suited for left tackle would be Menelik Watson, the impressive native of Manchester, England, former Marist baseketballer and Florida State right tackle (for just one season). Watson has all the potential and very little of the seasoning to play in the NFL trenches and is a huge risk. Is he worth picking at #15, with the team low on draft picks, when he could be available in the second round? It isn't like he's going to step in and solve the unsolved left tackle position, what with his twelve games of major college football experience and eight games of junior college football experience to round out his entire American football resume.
We'll stick to our version 5.0 pick and project Georgia LB Alec Ogletree, though a trade down in this scenario seems more likely
. Unlike Watson, Ogletree is good value at #15. After trading down and picking up an extra day two pick, OT Menelik Watson begins to make more sense.
This post was edited on 4/18 at 10:42 am