The 2011 NFL Draft seems to be the last bit of football we’ll get for some time. That is at least until the owners and the players can come to an agreement and the lockout is completely lifted. Over the weekend though, the New Orleans Saints had six draft picks in which to upgrade their team for whenever the 2011 season may start.
It is now time to grade those picks and see exactly how our boys did. Let’s carry on shall we?
The New Orleans Saints had six total picks which fell as follows: two in the first round, two in the third, and two in the seventh. Below you can read a bit about each pick:
- DE Cameron Jordan
- RB Mark Ingram
- LB Martez Wilson
- CB Johnny Patrick
- DE Greg Romeus
- LB Nate Bussey
Teams in the NFL Draft will make their selections usually one of two criteria. Those happen to be “need” and “best available player.” As we’ve come to learn in the Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis era, they aren’t always the type to go straight for “need” if there is a player on the board they know will be a steal at their number selection. That was evident in this year’s draft as well.
Photo Gallery of 2011 New Orleans Saints Draft Picks
The Saints did meet a big need with their first pick of the defensive end Cameron Jordan out of California. He will fill in nicely at the end of the defensive line opposite Will Smith and could honestly step into a starting spot at the beginning of the season.
Running back Mark Ingram from Alabama was the Saints’ second pick and he was one that was not so much “need” but “best available.” New Orleans does have Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory, Reggie Bush, and Lynell Hamlton already on the roster but Ingram was just too good to pass up. Actually, he was ranked by most experts as the best back in the draft and Payton will find a way to use all of the backs accordingly in the offense.
The two linebackers out of Illinois could prove to be worthy investments. Martez Wilson will automatically step in to compete for a starting spot alongside MLB Jonathan Vilma. Now the Saints have a number of prospects for the outside linebackers and the training camp battle will be interesting. Nate Bussey will be in it too, but isn’t expected to compete much for a starting spot. Look for him to contribute on special teams more then anything, but he’s awfully good at it.
Cornerback wasn’t a huge need for the Saints as their secondary is quite crowded already, but Johnny Patrick will still be able to help out in nickel and dime packages. Considering how much the Saints score, opponents are more likely to turn to the passing game and a team can never have too many back-ups in the secondary when falling into a prevent defense.
One of the picks in the entire draft that could be a total steal is defensive end Greg Romeus who might have been an early second round pick if not for the injuries that plagued him last year. If he can come back from the bad back then the Saints will have a great back-up and possible future starter at defensive end.
In terms of value, the Saints scored through th roof and really got some fantastic picks with Ingram being the most notable of course. As far as “needs” go, they didn’t address the defensive line for someone to start alongside Sedrick Ellis in the middle and failed to address the offensive line as well. Another tackle inside would have helped but perhaps they’ll find one whenever free agency starts.
Overall Saints draft grade: B+
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