2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis - New Orleans Saints

By Matt McGuire

Matt will be reviewing each team's 2009 Pre-Draft Analysis by talking about the draft range of targeted players.

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New Orleans Saints

Even as a die-hard Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan, even I picked the New Orleans Saints to win the NFC South last season. What was not to love? They added a big play-maker in Sedrick Ellis to their defensive line as well as Jonathan Vilma to their linebacking corps. When push came to shove, this offense lacked a powerful running back and the defense simply did not live up to expectations. Darren Sharper and Jabari Greer have been added to this defense to give it some juice. With a solid draft, the Saints just might be NFC South favorites once again.

On to their draft range with the No. 14 overall selection:

Chris Wells: I took a TON of heat in February when I mocked Chris Wells to the Saints both on this forum and on the SaintsReport forums. Even with Knowshon Moreno available, Wells is a better fit for this offense because of his size, power, and short-yardage capabilities. Reggie Bush is an elite No. 2 back, but he can't carry the load. With the signings of Sharper and Greer, as I anticipated the Saints to make some moves on defense, Wells is very much in play here.

Brian Cushing/Clay Matthews: I really do not feel like either of these players will be chosen by New Orleans. Yes, there is a hole at linebacker opposite Scott Fujita, but neither of these players have the value of a No. 14 selection in the 4-3 scheme.

Malcolm Jenkins: Darren Sharper is not the long-term answer at free safety. This defense has given up a ton of big plays, and Jenkins would be a great fit at free safety if he does not work out at cornerback. If he does not start early on, he would be a great nickel corner, which is something you need in the NFC South. I think Jenkins is the favorite here to the Saints, with Wells a close second.

Outside linebacker will still be a need, and I think the Saints might target Tyrone McKenzie or Marcus Freeman in the third or fourth rounds. In the later rounds, I like Nic Harris, Moise Fokou, Jaison Williams, and Anthony Heygood as good fits on this defense and as special team contributors.

Ever since Jeff Faine headed for Tampa in free agency, center has been a need. Antoine Caldwell, Jonathan Luigs and Eric Wood are third-round possibilities, and would be immediate starters.

If the Saints do not go with Chris Wells at No. 14, I think Andre Brown and Rashad Jennings would be good fits on this offense with their size and power in the third or fourth rounds.

More depth at the tight end position is a must. Anthony Hill, Cameron Morrah and James Casey would all be solid fourth- or fifth-round picks and provide some potential behind Jeremy Shockey.

One of the biggest needs on this team is kicker. When I was at the Senior Bowl, after every practice, there would be a Saints scout talking to special team players such as long snappers, punters and kickers. I think this team is seriously considering drafting a kicker late and the favorites would have to be Graham Gano, Jose Martinez, and maybe even Sam Swank. The Saints will do a ton of work on this position because they messed up last year with Taylor Melhaff.

The Saints have a few needs on their team, but there is no denying their talent offensively or their potential on defense. The South is a brutal division with Carolina and Atlanta to compete with, but this could be the year everyone doubts the Saints and they win the division. Problem is, they can't do this without a great 2009 NFL Draft.

New Orleans Saints 2009 Offseason Needs

Matt McGuire's 2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis Archive:

2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Detroit Lions
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: St. Louis Rams
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Kansas City Chiefs
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Seattle Seahawks
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Cleveland Browns
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Cincinnati Bengals
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Oakland Raiders
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Jacksonville Jaguars
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Green Bay Packers
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: San Francisco 49ers
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Buffalo Bills
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Denver Broncos
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Washington Redskins
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: New Orleans Saints
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Houston Texans
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: San Diego Chargers
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: New York Jets
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Dallas Cowboys
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Philadelphia Eagles
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Minnesota Vikings
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: New England Patriots
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Atlanta Falcons
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Miami Dolphins
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Baltimore Ravens
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Indianapolis Colts
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Carolina Panthers
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Tennessee Titans

2009 NFL Mock Draft - Matt McGuire's

2009 NFL Mock Draft - Walt's

NFL Picks

2009 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings

2009 Fantasy Football Rankings

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