It’s mock draft season, and here on NFL Spin Zone, we like to take a look at 2014 NFL Mock Drafts around the network and give our take on some of the selections put out there. It’s a way of breaking down various players and team fits, so we can go a little bit more in depth with each pick. Today, we’ll take a look at who Peter Smith over at With The First Pick had the New Orleans Saints taking with the 29th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Smith has the Saints going an interesting route by pulling edge rusher Jeremiah Attaochu out of Georgia Tech in the late first round, and it’s interesting because a lot of people don’t have Attaochu with a first-round grade. I say, if the New Orleans Saints want a speedy edge rusher who can get after the quarterback and has plenty of athleticism and upside, then I don’t see the problem with taking the risk. Attaochu is not a polished player, but he has been a huge breakout player this season and is starting to tap into his potential. Although he played at defensive end for Georgia Tech in this year’s breakout campaign, his skill-set makes him better projected for a 3-4 OLB gig at the NFL level.
The Saints could use Attaochu, because he would give this team a high-upside OLB pairing with explosive pass rusher Junior Galette on the other side of him. Attaochu recorded 12 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss this past season for the Yellow Jackets, so he certainly knows a thing or two about disrupting an offense. He isn’t the most versatile player around, but he can line up as a 4-3 DE or 3-4 OLB when needed. Rob Ryan loves to have an aggressive defense, so getting a guy with Attaochu’s raw pass-rushing talent and upside would make things really interesting for the Saints defense. While OLB isn’t a big position of need, I think adding another pass rusher would be a pick well-spent for a Super Bowl contender that could use an upgrade over Parys Haralson.
Attaochu has almost limitless upside and is a great pass rusher, but he definitely lacks polish. This is a guy who still needs to work on the finer points of the game, such as hand usage, and he is also a big liability in run defense. That said, he has plenty of experience dropping back into coverage, and he could be a nice high-risk, high-reward pick for the Saints, especially if they want to be aggressive in this year’s draft. I would have went for Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard, but I don’t have any significant qualms with this intriguing pick that brings up plenty of discussion.