The Saints have a lot of change ahead of them this year hiring Rob Ryan and switching the the 3-4 defense. The change should benefit Martez Wilson and Junior Galette, two undersized defensive ends who should transition well into 3-4 outside linebackers. The Saints, however do not have a true nose tackle which should be a big priority for them in the draft this year. A young, high-potential pass rusher and cornerback would help out the New Orleans defense as well. On the offensive side of the ball, New Orleans lost left tackle, Jermon Bushrod leaving a glaring need for someone to protect Drew Brees’ blindside.
Round 1 – Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma – This seems like a bit of a reach but if Lane Johnson fell to the Saints at 15, it’s not something New Orleans could pass up. Their #1 priority should be protecting the team’s most valuable asset, Drew Brees. The Saints know that they have to make a splash with their first round pick being that they don’t have a 2nd rounder this year, so for them I say Lane Johnson or bust. Lane Johnson is probably the most athletic offensive lineman, the rich man’s Terron Armstead running a sub-4.8 40 as an offensive lineman. If Lane isn’t there at pick #15, look for them to trade down for a dynamic first round defender like Ohio State’s Johnathan Hankins or Texas A&M’s Damontre Moore as well as an extra pick.
Sleeper – Montori Hughes, NT, UT-Martin - This is a steal for any team in need of a nose tackle. Montori Hughes is a true nose tackle whose had some issues off the field. Originally an SEC defender anchoring the defensive line for the Tennessee Volunteers, Montori is a steal for a 3rd day pick. He’s a highly physical and naturally athletic nose tackle earning the start for the Volunteers by the beginning of his sophomore season. Unfortunately, he was dismissed from the Volunteers after failing to make grades and getting involved in a “dorm room incident.” This, coupled with the depth at 2013’s interior defensive line class is probably the main reason he falls from the 2nd day to the 3rd day which makes him a potential gem as a 4th – 7th round pick. Luckily, there are no classes or dorm rooms in the NFL. With a Ryan guiding him on defense combined with an excellent motivator in Sean Payton, Montori Hughes can potentially be a steal in this draft for New Orleans (or any team with great defensive coaching in need of a true nose tackle).