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Monday, 27 February 2012 16:37

New Orleans Saints With No 1st Draft Round Picks Need Big Defensive Help

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SpagnuoloThe Saints don't have a first-round pick in this year's draft, but GM Mickey Loomis, Coach Sean Payton, coaches and scouts are paying attention to all the top prospects.

You never know who might fall out of the first round and be available in the second. The Saints have the 59th pick.

The Saints are in need of a pass rush and the problem with new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's scheme is the Saints don't have the personnel to run this part of the defense effectively. Spagno likes to generate almost all his pressure from the front four. Outside of veteran defensive end, the Saints don't have pass rush threats on the line. They will address this need through the draft.

Loomis and Payton like first-round draft picks and I can see them trading up to get to that round.

The websites are speculating who the teams will pick. Bleacher Report has the Saints picking Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill with the 59th selection and Oregon outside linebacker Josh Kaddin with the 91st pick.

I have a late-round pick for the Saints: former LSU strong safety Brandon Taylor, the Tigers' most underrated player last season and would be a perfect fit for Spag's defense.

In 2011, he led the Tigers in tackles and was one of the defensive captains. He has proven that he can make plays against the run, but is also very capable against the pass. This is something that the Saints need desperately in their secondary.

Here comments from Bleacher Report  columnist Zayne Grantham on Taylor: "The best part of Taylor's game is that he can play physical, like Roman Harper, but he can also cover the against the pass.

"Taylor also has the ability to take on the defensive quarterback role. Teams typically want a middle linebacker to have that role, but Taylor has shown that he can align a defense if necessary.

"The simple fact is that Taylor has every attribute needed to play at the highest level in the NFL."

The Saints are known for taking guys in the late rounds and turning them into NFL starters.

The Saints currently have Malcolm Jenkins, Harper, Isa Abdiul-Quddus and Jonathan Amaya on the roster at safety. However, Spag loves to use three safeties in his scheme at times, and another safety wouldn't hurt the Saints, especially a player like Taylor.

Harper has struggled in coverage in the past, and if that's still the case in Spag's defense, then the Saints may have to find a replacement anyway. Even if Harper stays, Taylor could be the No. 3 safety right away.

Taylor is projected to to somewhere around the fifth round and the Saints can find a way to pick him.

SOME hither, others yon: Former LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers raised his draft stock during the NFL Combine over the weekend.  Scouts are falling in love with him. Clark Judge of wrote on Saturday that Brockers  is the next boom-or-bust. The theory is he can be the next Jason Pierre-Paul (Giants). He has gained 80 pounds since his freshman season at LSU, and it's all good weight. He's a physical freak. And the possibility of boom is going to ramp up this draft stock but there are concerns that Brockers was a one-year wonder at LSU. Asked about that label, Brockers said, "I can only get better from now on. That's my response to that."...Saints guard Carl Nicks doesn't want a franchise tag put on him...

Kim Kardashian and Reggie Bush is the reunion you've been waiting for. At least, we think it is. Kim and Reggie were spotted together this weekend in Beverly Hills where they apparently looked cozy. It sure looks like it's back on to us, which we're sure you are ecstatic about as we are...Busted writes that "Moneyball" entered Sunday night with six Oscar nominations. It went home with zero wins. Call it a repeat postseason pattern after a glowing regular season, if you will, with the movie coming up empty-handed. It was only fitting. Billy Beane's Oakland Athletics made the playoffs five times in a seven-year span, yet never won a single game in the ALCS...

With LSU  defensive backfield coach Ron Cooper going to Tampa Bay, the Tigers have that position open. Nebraska defensive backield coach Corey Raymond, LSU alumnus, said he has no interest in the job...Andrew Luck's performance at the Combine matched what Cam Newton did last year. Here's one scout's report on former LSU wide receiver Reuben Randle: "An impressive athlete for his tall, long frame. Showed very good hand-to-eye coordination through the catch, and showed smooth movement skills for a big man. He made some impressive grabs, extending his long arms and reeling in the catch.". He ran the 40 in 4.5 seconds...Thirty-seven NFL players made more than Drew Brees last season, and that's not counting Peyton Manning, Tom Brady or Sam Bradford...

Alabama's Nick Saban is the most disliked coach in the country because he has built a juggernaut at Bama based on cold cynicism and over -signing. Here's Saban's take his victory over LSU in the championship game: "You have to be prepared to sustain your performance for 60 minutes."...I can't wait to not watch "The Artist" when it comes on HBO or Showtime...After seeing what Robert Grffing ran the 40 (4.31) in, he's faster than my first car....

by Ed Staton

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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.