Saints 7-Round Mock Draft

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12: R1P12: SHELDON RANKINS, DT, LOUISVILLE
6’1 299 lbs.
Louisville Football v Memphis
FIT: Last year, the Saints tried running a 4-3 base defense with Kevin Williams and John Jenkins at starter. While there were times Williams played well, watching Jenkins play was often about as pleasant as I imagine a brain aneurysm to be. The main problem at this position, there is not enough talent. Rankins might be the best in an absolutely loaded class, having turned many senior tackles into human turnstiles at Senior Bowl practices.
                                     http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1998998/sheldon-rankins
47: R2P16: SHILIQUE CALHOUN, DE, MICHIGAN STATE
6’4 251 lbs.
NCAA Football: Rose Bowl-Stanford vs Michigan State

Jan 1, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; Michigan State Spartans defensive end Shilique Calhoun (89) tackles Stanford Cardinal running back Tyler Gaffney (25) during the second half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

FIT: Akiem Hicks was so inept for the Saints defense, he was ousted by what could perhaps have been the worst starting 4-3 end in the league: Bobby Richardson. That may be a little harsh, but nobody’s claiming Richardson’s a starter. The Saints must find an answer opposite Cam Jordan and they may not have the cap space to find a starter in free agency. This class is solid at this position at the top, with zero depth.
                                     http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1868388/shilique-calhoun
78: R3P15: DEION JONES, OLB, LSU
6’1 222 lbs.
Jones
FIT: Watching the Saints attempt to cover a tight end will either make you do a spit-take or cause indigestion, depending on your allegiance. Point being, they can cover a tight end like an umbrella with a hole in it can cover a person in the rain. This was especially prominent in the Tennessee game when the Saints allowed Craig Stevens and Anthony Fasano to combine for 5 catches, 58 yards and a game-winning touchdown in overtime. Jones possesses sideline-to-sideline coverage ability and would inject athleticism and speed into a defense that’s seemingly allergic to the concept.
                                     http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1984265/deion-jones
113: R4P14: STERLING SHEPARD, WR, OKLAHOMA
5’10 194 lbs.
 Shepard
FIT: Marques Colston is out, and supposedly, Brandon Coleman is the answer. While the big, tall and athletic Coleman looked good in spot duty last year, the Saints need to think about injecting more talent into the receiving corps. I begged the Saints to grab Tyler Lockett last year, now with Shepard falling due to his size and a perceived weakness overall at the position, the Saints would be wise to grab the smooth, polished OU product if he’s available.
                                     http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1996786/sterling-shepard
152: R5P13: REES ODHIAMBO, G, BOISE STATE
6’4 314 lbs.
 Odiambho
FIT: The Saints just cut ties with long-time starter Jahri Evans, and after jettisoning Ben Grubbs last season, there is very little talent at the position in the building. Depending on what they do in free agency, Sean Payton still counts this as one of the team’s biggest needs. Odhiambo is a talented prospect from outside the Power 5 who could be a steal in the fifth, might remind some fans of a certain Bloomsburg prospect.
                                     http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1825221/rees-odhiambo
235: R7P16: ANTWAUN WOODS, DT, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
6’0 318 lbs.
Christian Powell, Antwaun Woods, Hayes Pullard

Colorado tailback Christian Powell, center, is tackled for a loss by Southern California linebacker Hayes Pullard, left, and defensive tackle Antwaun Woods (99) in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in Boulder, Colo., Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) ** Usable by LA and DC Only **

FIT: Remember what I said about the Saints situation at defensive tackle? It’s that bad. With the draft so deep at defensive tackle, it makes sense to grab one at this late stage as well, and Woods has a workable frame to go with a high-motor and excellent work ethic. He’ll fit right in with the locker room Payton wants to build and might even find some playing time in a rotational role.
                                     http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1851134/antwaun-woods

Senior Bowl: On Defensive Stats

I noticed that it was somewhat difficult to find defensive stats for the senior bowl so I went through looking for sacks in the play-by-play. This is what I found:

TOP PERFORMER: Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor

Oakman

2 sacks, 1 forced fumble

 

Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech

Butler

1 sack, 1 forced fumble

 

Noah Spence, DE/OLB, Eastern Kentucky

Spence

1 sack

 

Sheldon Day, DT, Notre Dame

Day

1 sack

 

Javon Hargrave, DT, South Carolina State

Hargrave

1 sack

Also, on recommendation, I went a little deeper into the game and scoured what film I could gather to find some more defensive information:

  • There were no interceptions in the game. No turnovers at all. Each of the forced fumbles were recovered by the offense.
  • Jalen Mills, LSU FS, was playing corner in the game and had two PBU’s one of Ohio State receiver Braxton Miller on a slant and another against a low backshoulder throw. Showed great instincts and closing speed on both.
  • I also saw Alabama corner Cyrus Jones get way too physical and get penalized in the endzone for a pass interference. He never even turned his head. He’ll get burned for that at the next level.
  • Jake Ganus, Georgia Linebacker, got beat by Ohio State tight end Nick Vannett for a 29 yard pass from North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz. Ganus was in zone and also came up with the tackle.
  • Northern Iowa’s Deiondre’ Hall, playing corner, gave too much cushion on a 12 yard comeback from Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott to South East Missouri State receiver Paul McRoberts. Hall made the tackle.
  • Prescott found McRoberts again in the endzone for a 5 yard touchdown, Hall had primary coverage and Utah inside linebacker Jared Norris attempted to jump the route but just missed.
  • In the second half, USC QB Cody Kessler found North Western State of Louisiana receiver Ed Eagan for 23 yards. Okahoma outside linebacker Eric Striker had the underneath coverage and South Eastern Louisiana corner Harlan Miller had the bracket over the top. Miller forced Eagan out of bounds.
  • Hargrave and Alabama DL Jarran Reed got blown off the spot for the Kessler qb sneak touchdown.
  • Arkansas QB Brandon Allen found Kansas State H-back Glenn Gronkowski alone for a 32 yard gain. Wisconsin linebacker Joe Schobert had the underneath zone, West Virginia’s K.J. Dillon was one of the deep safeties and missed the tackle. Ohio State safety Tyvis Powell was the other deep man and made the tackle.
  • Alabama running back Kenyan Drake beat Utah defensive end Jason Fanaika to the edge on a pitch for a one yard touchdown
  • On the hail mary, Louisiana Tech quarterback Jeff Driskel found Michigan State receiver Aaron Burbidge for a 26 yard touchdown in front of several defenders at the end of the play. The closest defenders to making the play were Auburn corner Jonathan Jones and William and Mary safety Deandre Houston-Carson.

Robert Nkemdiche, DT Scouting Report

Robert Nkemdiche, DE/DT, Ole Miss

6’5 293 lbs

Nkemdiche

OVERVIEW

Height, weight, speed is impressive. Looks like a much smaller man, built very well. Impressive burst upfield, good array of pass rush moves.

Heavy penetrator but not very patient, can take himself out of plays and does often. Comparable against the run versus pass, probably a better pass rusher though. Can get washed out by double teams and beaten by talent one-on-one.

Plays like a much smaller man and needs to learn to use his size to dominate, that comes with understanding of pad level. He uses swim, rip, spin and can slide through double teams with ease when pass rushing. He’s also as sure a tackler as there is in this draft.

PASS RUSHING

Technique: 5 out of 5

Nkemdiche is an impressive technician, using a wide array of moves to work his way to the quarterback. His rip and swim moves are his best, but he uses the spin move better than most. He has the abiltiy to slide through double teams with ease or beat guards one on one.

Effectiveness: 5 out of 5

His sack numbers were very strong from the defensive tackle position. He has elite pass rushing ability inside and showed it by being a constant presence in the middle of the pocket.

Potential: 5 out of 5

With his impressive size, athleticism and pass rush moves, there’s no reason to believe Nkemdiche couldn’t evolve into one of the NFL’s most disruptive inside rushers.

RUN STOPPING

Technique: 3 out of 5

While he’s effective at clogging gaps and disengaging from blockers, he gets washed out by double teams due to poor pad level. This will be a problem at the defensive tackle position since he will be asked to take up double teams more often than not, unless he’s paired with another elite rusher. He slides between linemen with more grace than most.

Effectiveness: 5 out of 5

His tackle numbers are fairly on par for the position and amount of games (11) he played in 2015. But what really impresses is Nkemdiche’s ability to wrap up and bring down the ball carrier by himself in space. He is such an effective tackler that an inside position should just increase his value.

Potential: 3 out of 5

The one thing that keeps Nkemdiche from being an elite prospect against the run on the inside is his slightly low play strength compared to his size. He should be able to push his assignment more than he does. Other than that, he has all of the tools and could find a niche as an explosive play specialist.

TOTAL PROSPECT RATING: 26/30

NFL Comparison: Ndamokung Suh, DT, Miami Dolphins

SuhNkemdiche 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In terms of being a sheer mismatch on the inside with freaky athleticism for his size, Nkemdiche reminds me a lot of Suh. Nkemdiche doesn’t have the sack numbers, but I believe they’ll come at the next level under some NFL coaching.