Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential draft-day solutions.
For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.
No. 1 Team Need: Defensive Line
Last year's Saints ranked 27th in Football Outsiders' run-defense DVOA and tied for 27th in the NFL in sacks (31). Up front, New Orleans' lone imposing defensive presence is DE Cameron Jordan, although the one-year addition of mercenary DT Nick Fairley will help in the short term. 2015 second-round pick Hau'oli Kikaha is transitioning from linebacker to defensive end, but projects as only a situational player there. Primarily in the form of pass rushers, the Saints need help both on the interior and on the edge.
No. 2 Team Need: Cornerback
The recoveries of Keenan Lewis (hip, knee, sports hernia) and Damian Swann (concussion) will determine the extent of this need, but neither can be counted on as a significant 2016 contributor at this stage of the offseason. While LCB Delvin Breaux established himself last season as the one of the league's top cover corners, the Saints lack certainty throughout the rest of their three-cornerback package. One in-house candidate for a bigger role is 2015 third-round pick P.J. Williams, who redshirted as a rookie with a torn hamstring.
No. 3 Team Need: Wide Receiver
Offensive line is arguably a fourth need with question marks at both guard spots, and LT Terron Armstead and C Max Unger both entering contract years. I opted for wide receiver as New Orleans' No. 3 need with Marques Colston gone and Brandon Coleman coming off a disappointing season. Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead form an underrated starting tandem, but the Saints could use a big, more physical receiver to round out their three-wide package. Saints decision makers obviously won't see wideout as much of a need if they truly believe Coleman is the answer.
Norris' Mock Draft
Round 1 (12): DL Sheldon Rankins, Louisville - Interior disruption is king, and Rankins offers it more than any other player in this class. He is highly aware as a pass rusher and uses counter moves with intent. Play him next to the guard and next to the center and watch good things happen. He’s also a very good athlete. I am unaware of any scheme limitations the Saints deploy, so Rankins is a fit as 3-technique.
Round 2 (47): DL Bronson Kaufusi, BYU - Kaufusi’s projection, in terms of alignment, will be off the map. Some like him most on the edge, where he can use length and a strong swim move. Others want him inside, where his athleticism shines against interior blockers. Kaufusi does turn 25 years old before the season.
Round 3 (78): G Graham Glasgow, Michigan - The collegiate center will likely move to guard thanks to his 6-foot-6, 307-pound frame. Jim Harbaugh consistently called Glasgow an NFL player before he was on evaluators’ radars. I’ll go a step further and call Glasgow an early starter.
Round 4 (112): WR Keyarris Garrett, Tulsa - There’s a lot to like about Garrett. He is big, fairly nimble for his size and won at each level of the field. He only played on one side of the field at Tulsa, so teams will need to allow him to focus on a specific role early while his game develops.
Round 5 (152): CB Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma - I think Damian Swann develops into a starting caliber slot corner, but that is just based on my pre-draft evaluation. There is plenty of starting tape for scouts to evaluate in Sanchez’s game.
Round 7 (237): LB Joe Bolden, Michigan - Linebacker and special teams depth for a player who was full go at the East West Shrine practices.
Saints Current Offensive Depth Chart
QB: Drew Brees
RB: Mark Ingram
WR: Brandin Cooks
WR: Willie Snead
WR: Brandon Coleman
TE: Coby Fleener
LT: Terron Armstead
LG: Andrus Peat
C: Max Unger
RG: Tim Lelito
RT: Zach Strief
Saints Current Defensive Depth Chart
LE: Cameron Jordan
RE: Hau'oli Kikaha
DT: John Jenkins
DT: Nick Fairley
MLB: James Laurinaitis
WLB: Dannell Ellerbe
SLB: Stephone Anthony
LCB: Delvin Breaux
RCB: Keenan Lewis
FS: Jairus Byrd
SS: Kenny Vaccaro