Just a little spin from some of the established mockers without links- 17
. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Without the hyper-aggressive blitzing favored by former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, the Saints may have to develop greater individual defensive linemen. Since earning New Orleans' first round selection in 2008, Sedrick Ellis has been solid in the middle. Free agent Brodrick Bunkley has also played reasonably well this season. Neither is a star, however, and the Saints are getting gashed against the run this year. 13
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: KAWANN SHORT, DT, PURDUE
Whether or not the Saints will wind up selecting in the top half of the draft when all is said and done remains to be seen but their disappointing start to the season certainly exposed some major flaws. Of particular concern is the defense, which ranks near the bottom of the league against both the run and pass. Needless to say New Orleans has a bunch of holes to plug on that side of the ball and it may just come down to selecting the best defender available. Kawann Short of Purdue is a massive presence in the middle who is capable of being a dominant force but he also has a tendency to disappear for stretches too. The big question is whether teams are willing to overlook those bouts of inconsistency or if they will eventually push Short out of the first round. The Saints could also stand to upgrade at cornerback and despite the presence of some big names there are still issues at linebacker too. It is awfully difficult to imagine New Orleans going offense with this choice but if they did it would probably be for an offensive tackle or perhaps a wide receiver. This has to be defense though, right? 13.
NO: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
New Orleans has the worst defense in football and will get a boost from getting their head coach back, but they need to add some players who can pressure the QB. Moore possesses the flexibility to play multiple positions and a spin move reminiscent of Dwight Freeney. 17
New Orleans - Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida St.
Everyone knows the Saints will select a defender here. Werner brings an all around game to the field, but also a toughness and non stop motor that will hopefully rub off on others. 13
*Dee Milliner CB Alabama 17
. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
: The Saints currently rank dead-last in the NFL defending the run, allowing an average of 157.8 yards on the ground to their opponents in 2012. And with Sedrick Ellis set for free agency after the season, the interior of New Orleans defensive line is a need area, making the talented, but streaky Hankins a logical pick. 16
New Orleans Saints: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Sedrick Ellis has been a bust. He'll be hitting free agency this March, so it's unlikely he'll be back with the team. Canadian Akiem Hicks has played well, but the Saints need someone next to him who can rush the passer on the interior. Sheldon Richardson, who has been phenomenal this season, could be that guy. 13
. NO: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
Mingo could certainly go sooner than this, but his draft stock is slipping after a good, but not great 2012 season. The Saints have been awful on defense and the quickest way to get better would be bolstering their pass rush. 20
New Orleans Saints, Jonathan Jenkins DT Georgia
This would be a steal for New Orleans if Jenkins were sitting here at #20. Many pundits have him ranked higher, so the Saints will be thrilled with him (or Jesse Williams) at this point. Chances are many of you (okay, ALL of you) have noticed the Saints' "Ole' " defense, allowing teams to march up and down the field, racking up points like beads around the neck at Mardi Gras. Much of that comes from the lack of any dominant run-stuffing linemen in the trenches, and Jenkins seems like he would be able to mitigate that problem to a good extent. While he has the size to be an NT in a 3-4, his lateral agility might help him translate effectively to the Saints' 4-3. He tends to play a bit too heavy, so constant work on stamina and weight control will need to be addressed. Jenkins has a solid first step, and is very powerful. He has work to do to round out his full arsenal, but he's instinctive and athletic enough right now to be a solid contributor from the outset.
This post was edited on 12/4 at 8:13 am