With the 2014 NFL Draft just a few days away, every team is searching for the right talents to fill in their needs. Let’s examine the New Orleans Saints what they done this offseason and what they may do come Draft day. The Saints last few seasons been a little silent other than an appearance to the playoffs here and there, including last season where they took a loss to the NFL Champion Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round after winning the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wildcard. The Saints can definitely turn things around but they first need to fill in their holes especially on the defensive side of the ball beginning in their secondary. That’s exactly what the Saints did this offseason they took advantage of building the middle of the secondary by adding high ticket safety Jairus Byrd to mix in with last year’s first-rounder Kenny Vaccaro. In the linebacker position the Saints made excessive improvements in 2013 under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, but one of their main threats Victor Butler, went down with a torn ACL. On the offensive side of the ball they need to look at three positions, by initially providing some additional protection for quarterback Drew Brees and by grant him with another target. At the same time Brees isn’t getting any younger and the team can look for a future replacement or quarterback to add some depth under Brees in the later rounds.
1st round 27th pick overall Dee Ford, DE/LB, Auburn
With Butler coming back from an injury the Saints can use a talent young edge rusher. Ford will fit perfectly with veterans Junior Galette the sack leader of the team and Parys Haralson the solid run-stopper. Ford is a beast that shows balance and efficient change-of-direction skills when operating in reverse, making him one to watch as a linebacker in the NFL.
2nd round 58th pick overall Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas
The Saints didn’t put up much of a fight when center Brian de la Puente left in free agency to the Chicago Bears. That might indicate they have faith in Tim Lelito, but it also means they’re really thin in the middle of their offensive line. Swanson bring with him superior awareness on the line and will start on the line from the get go. He is very explosive when delivering snaps and is able to seal off defenders from the action when blocking straight ahead.
3rd round 91st pick overall Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado
Nothing wrong in giving Brees another target to fly the ball in the air to. They did tie up their big tight-end Jimmy Graham this offseason but they could still use a deep threat and someone that could knock out the top defenses in the NFL. Richardson is a deep threat and brings that top flight speed to the Saints. Savvy route-runner who alters his gait off the line and throughout his route to gain separation from cornerbacks.
4rd round 126th pick overall E.J. Gains, CB, Missouri
After filling in the hole at safety the Saints left their corner spots with a question mark aging veteran Champ Bailey turns 36 and injury concerns are taking a toll. But the team does have a sold veteran on the other side, Keenan Lewis but he can use some help. Gains isn’t one of the top corners in this year’s draft but he isn’t that far behind. The Saints need a predecessor behind Bailey when needed and he has the talent to build into a strong defensive back in the NFL. Gains brings with him the combination of broad-shouldered, long-armed frame and solid overall athleticism making him a tough draw for any receiver. Gains has excellent lateral agility and balance and speed to burn. He anticipates routes well, by under-cutting the receivers.
The Saints have two selections in the fifth round and one in the sixth but no seventh making a easy exit the last day of the NFL Draft here are the final three selections.
5th round Pick 167th pick overall De' Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
They need to find a future running back Darren Sproles was traded to the Eagles and they didn't provide Mark Ingram with a fifth year option, the Saints can use pass-catching running back. Thomas is electrifying, he will add the missing dimension the mix quite quickly. He boast remarkable elusiveness, instant acceleration and the speed to pull away from defender to him a true threat with the ball in his hands.
5th round 169th pick overall Aaron Lynch, DE, South Florida
Nothing wrong with adding some depth to the defensive line, with Will Smith up in New England the Saints can certainly add to the depth in that position. Lynch is incredible athlete with a rare combination of size and speed. He has the ability to explode off the ball with powerful first steps. Lynch also demonstrates impressive hands to clear path and close with an elite burst.
6th round 202nd pick overall Connor Shaw, QB, South Carolina
Some day Drew Brees will not be around for the Saints, not that his job is jeopardy by any means. But he is ready to become a mentor to young gunslinger. Plus it's always good to have a solid back-up to rely on other-than Luke Mcknown, whom the Saints re-signed this off-season. For the Gamecocks Shaw was an excellent signal caller and admitted pain to lots of defenses in the SEC with his feet as well as his arm strength. He play with a gritty style and does very well in avoiding interceptions. But he is a developmental quarterback for the NFL since he isn't a natural passer and possesses only an mediocre skill set at this time. Right now, he cannot ask for a a better situation to learn under Brees.
Follow Oren on Twitter @NFLorentime and NFL Draft Insiders @NFLDraftNetwork
Be sure to like us Facebook at NFL Draft Insiders for all your NFL and College Football news and information all year long.