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whodatworm23

2018 NFL draft Saints prospect watch list:

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I decided to create this list for those who aren’t able to follow the college prospects as extensively as I do and to inform those who are interested in what prospect we will be hearing about over the next couple months.

 

For the purpose of this list I’m focused exclusively on potential 1st round prospects with realistic opportunity to be available to the Saints at pick 27. I have excluded the following positions… RB, FB, OG, OT, PK & P primarily due to team needs and value of positions.

 

Saints team needs in no particular order… QB, TE, WR, OC, DT, DE, LB, CB & S. Each and every one of these positions could use additional talent (some more than others) and therefor couldn’t be excluded from this list.

 

 

 

Quarterback

In my personal opinion I have 4 quarterbacks with 1st round grades entering this draft process… Sam Darnold (USC), Josh Rosen (UCLA), Josh Allen (Wyoming) and Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma). Of those prospects I’m comfortable stating that both Darnold and Rosen have zero chance of falling to pick 27. As for Allen and Mayfield, they are wildcards depending on how teams with quarterback needs view them. Allen has the physical tools to go as high as 1st overall while having enough question marks surrounding him to drop him to the back half of round one. Mayfield is this draft’s biggest enigma, as teams and scouts are all over the map on his NFL potential. Mayfield could hear his name called as high as top 5 or fall out of the 1st round completely.

 

Josh Allen, Wyoming

As I said earlier, Allen possesses all the physical tools NFL teams want in a franchise quarterback but there are legitimate concerns surrounding his play and mental approach to the game. Allen is a raw prospect with star potential which makes him a classic boom or bust candidate.

Odds Allen falls to 27: 20%

     

Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

Mayfield doesn’t possess the physical ability and traits of Josh Allen but he does possess all the intangibles that NFL scouts wish Allen did. Say what you want about the troubled gun slinger from Norman but he commands the respect of his team and his teammates LOVE him. Mayfield is a polarizing figure with some maturity issues no doubt but he’s also an extremely accurate passer with enough arm strength to make all the throws in the NFL. Mayfield won’t be all NFL GM’s cup of tea but it only takes one (especially one from a quarterback desperate team) to fall for all the positives that Mayfield brings and pull the trigger on day one of the draft.

Odds Mayfield falls to 27: 40%

 

 

 

Wide Receiver

I don’t particularly see this as a strong receiver class having only 1st round grades on 3 prospects and each of them with the potential to be available late in the 1st round.

 

Calvin Ridley, Alabama

Ridley is my defacto #1 receiver as of now. He’s much better than what Alabama’s offense was able to show due to quarterback play and scheme. Ridley is explosive of the line and silky smooth in his routes, I predict he’ll be the first wideout off the board and likely end up as a much better pro player than he was in college when a pro offense is built around his talents.

Odds Ridley falls to 27: 30%

 

Christian Kirk, Texas A&M

Kirk is more of an explosive athlete than a receiver at this point and yet he possesses a solid NFL route tree and doubles as a dynamic kick returner giving him added value.

Odds Kirk falls to 27: 70%

 

Courtland Sutton, Southern Methodist

Sutton is the biggest question mark of the receiver class as some evaluators have him as a potential top 10 pick while others have a 2nd round grade on him. Sutton possesses an NFL frame at 6’4” 215 lbs but I personally don’t consider him as explosive as Ridley or Kirk, nor is he nearly as versatile in my opinion. However, I do believe that Sutton is a 1st round talent and would be a serious consideration for the Saints at pick 27 if available.

Odds Sutton falls to 27: 75%

 

 

 

Tight End

While I understand the Saints need for a tight end and although I do feel that this is a relatively strong tight end group this year, it isn’t top heavy in my opinion as I only have one prospect at the position with a borderline 1st round grade.

 

Mark Andrews, Oklahoma

I believe Andrews to be the best of a solid group of tight ends this year but the only prospect I was willing to slot into the top 32. Andrews possesses the size, speed, length combo that all NFL teams covet these days at the position as well as proving his worth against power 5 competition. He’s a willing and successful inline blocker when asked to do so as well as a threat down the seams and he’s surprisingly elusive after the catch. If the Saints view Andrews as a potential day one or future starter and impact player for them he could very well be in play for them at 27th overall.

Odds Andrews falls to 27: 90%

 

 

 

Center

While some may view Center as an odd position to be on the Saints needs list it’s important to remember that veteran Max Unger is going to be 32 years old next season and while he played well in 2017 he did start the year off battling injuries and his play did show decline. Unger will also carry an 8 million dollar cap hit into 2018 that the Saints can save 4.5 million off by releasing him pre-June 1st or even 6.25 million is they designate him a post June 1st release. Either way, it would not shock me in the least if 2018 was Unger’s last year in the black and gold and as we have seen with the Ryan Ramczyk selection, the Saints aren’t afraid to use 1st round capitol on the future of their offensive line if they feel the value is right. One other possible key to consider would be that if the Saints are unable to retain veteran guard Sino Kelemete this offseason (I predict they won’t) then a prospect with the ability to play both center and guard becomes much more of a need moving forward.

 

Billy Price, Ohio State

Price would be an ideal fit for what the Saints would need in a swing interior lineman and future starting center. He’s a monster in the running game with above average pass pro skills. I feel he’s a better prospect than former teammate Pat Elfein who was a 3rd round selection for the Vikings in 2017 and a day one starter in Minnesota who played at a pro-bowl level in his rookie season.

Odds Price falls to 27: 40%

 

James Daniels, Iowa

Unlike Billy Price, Daniels is more of a pure center prospect with the ability to play guard in a pinch. Daniels is very athletic for his size and was coached well at Iowa which is becoming O-Line U for the NFL is seems. Daniels possesses a powerful punch and uses his top level athleticism to get to the second level of the defense to shield off linebackers with ease. At 6’4” 295 lbs, Daniels has the frame to add another 10-15 lbs as he gets into an NFL weight program.

Odds Daniels falls to 27: 90%

 

 

 

Defensive Tackle

Defensive tackle is a hard one for me because while I view Sheldon Rankins as a stud, it’s still very much an unknown right now when it comes to what Nick Fairley’s future holds. If Fairley somehow returns in 2018 this no longer becomes a potential 1st round need. If he doesn’t, I do believe that David Onyemata is developing at a pace to where he will be a serious candidate to start opposite Rankins in 2018 while Tyeler Davison gives the Saints quality depth and run stuffing ability. Still, if a prospect the Saints have a high grade on at the position would happen to fall in their lap… the current group of players have shown nothing to warrant the Saints not considering selecting that player.  

 

Maurice Hurst Jr., Michigan

As we saw with Sheldon Rankins in 2016, quick penetrating defensive tackles that can add a pass rush is valued by NFL evaluators more so than big physical bodies than can push the pocket. Hurst is in the mold of Rankins and I suspect he will be the 1st defensive tackle to hear his name called on draft night just like Rankins did.

Odds Hurst falls to 27: 25%

 

Vita Vea, Washington

Vea is very similar to former Husky nose tackle Danny Sheldon whom the Saints were rumored to covet in the 2015 NFL draft. At 6’3” 335 lbs, Vea is a massive prospect with surprising athleticism for a man his size and is sure to develop into a force in the middle of an NFL defense for years to come.

Odds Vea falls to 27: 50%

 

Taven Bryan, Florida

It is important to remember that NFL evaluators draft defensive lineman for the player they can become and not the player they are in college. Bryan possesses freakish physical tools and athleticism for the position, so much so that the Florida coaching staff came to nickname him JJ Watt. While Bryan might not be a very known name to most fans right now, over the next couple months you will see his stock rise.

Odds Bryan falls to 27: 75%

 

Da’Ron Payne, Alabama

I have Payne as a borderline 1st round prospect right now built in the mold of former Alabama tackle A’Shawn Robinson who was highly touted as a potential 1st round pick in 2016 but eventually ended up in the 2nd round. I do however feel that Payne has a bit more athleticism to his game than Robinson which should elevate his draft stock and possibly help him hear his name called on the first day of the draft.

Odds Payne falls to 27: 80%

 

Harrison Phillips, Stanford

Phillips is a prospect whose game centers around brute strength and length combined with a little athleticism. While he won’t be a fit for all defenses, he’ll be a highly sought after 34 nose tackle in this draft and might find himself drafted higher than others on this list do to scheme fit.

Odds Phillips falls to 27: 85%

 

 

 

Defensive End

The importance of this position will solely depend on if the Saints are able to retain Alex Oakfor this offseason. If they are unable to bring Oakfor back in 2018, defensive end quickly becomes priority #1 as far as needs go. Still even with Oakfor in the fold along with 2nd year man Trey Hendrickson to go along with star Cameron Jordan, the end position is still a need as around the NFL the best defenses prove year in and year out that quality depth in the defensive line rotation is a must if the Saints truly want to build a top level defensive unit.

 

Marcus Davenport, UT San Antonio

Davenport is considered by most to be the prospect that will experience the biggest rise through the pre-draft process. Much like former BYU and current Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah, Davenport is an athletic marvel that scouts and GM’s will drool over come draft time.

Odds Davenport falls to 27: 10%

 

Dorance Armstrong Jr., Kansas

While not as physically gifted as Marcus Davenport, Armstrong is another physical freak that will likely test off the charts at the NFL combine and see his draft stock soar prior to the draft. Armstrong had a breakout junior year in 2016 with 10 sacks and 20 TFL but was held in check for the most part in 2017 because offenses game planned to take him out of the game and the team surrounding him was just awful.

Odds Armstrong falls to 27: 70%

 

Arden Key, Louisiana State

Key possesses top 10 ability but off the field concerns as well as injuries have plummeted his draft stock. It’s still unknown just how far this talented edge rusher may fall in the draft but for whomever selects him will be getting a dynamite pass rusher with double digit sack ability as a rookie if they can keep him in check off the field.

Odds Key falls to 27: 80%

 

Harold Landry, Boston College

Landry is an undersized edge rusher with big time sack potential in the NFL but I believe that it will largely depend on the scheme fit he finds himself in. Landry would be best served as a 34 edge rushing linebacker as opposed to a down 43 defensive end.

Odds Landry falls to 27: 85%

 

Rasheem Green, Southern Cal

Green isn’t you classic edge rushing defensive end but build more in the mold of a Cam Jordan or Justin Tuck as a guy with great physical ability for his size (6’4” 285 lbs) and the versatility to play inside and out. Green, like Jordan isn’t the most explosive pass rusher off the edge but he’s relentless, powerful and sets a hard physical edge In the run game.

Odds Green falls to 27: 90%

 

Sam Hubbard, Ohio State

It took me a while to come up with a comp for Hubbard until it hit me… former Buckeye and Saints great Will Smith. Like Smith, Hubbard may never develop into an elite NFL pass rusher but he’ll be solid in that area and he will excel as a weakside edge setter in the run game. Smith carved out a great NFL career with the Saints and I could see Hubbard doing something similar for them if drafted.

Odds Hubbard falls to 27: 90%

 

 

 

Linebacker

Many on here (and Saints fans in general) view linebacker as this team’s most pressing need this offseason. I recently have changed my opinion on this after rescouting and evaluating the Saints current linebacking core from 2017. While I still consider the position a need, I just don’t feel it’s as dire as many other do. Manti Te’o was a blessing at middle linebacker, sure he has his faults in coverage at times but that’s true for almost 90% of NFL MIKE linebackers. AJ Klein was a great communicator and versatile player for us playing both Sam linebacker on early downs and then MIKE in sub-packages. Then there was the play of rookie weakside linebacker Alex Anzalone who based off the 1st quarter of the season appeared to be well on his way to being highly spoke about in terms with the rest of his 2017 NFL draft class. Craig Robinson was a “God send” to have as a reserve player but the biggest issue was the injuries that plagued this unit and sure we need to add better quality of depth. Anzalone’s injury history does scare me but not as much as his future excites me. I also doubt seriously that the Saints will value the position as highly as a 1st round prospect again after the Stephone Anthony situation but like with any team need, if the right guy falls… who knows.

 

Roquon Smith, Georgia

Some might say that there is zero chance Smith falls to the Saints at 27… I say to them, go back in the last 10 NFL drafts and tell me how many 6’0” 225 lbs “off ball” linebackers went in the 1st round alone. Smith is a great player no doubt and I do have a 1st round grade on him but so did I for LeVente David, Eric Kendricks and DeBo Jones all of whom went in round 2. The last prospect of Smith’s stature I can remember going first round was Shaq Thompson to the Carolina Panthers in 2015 and he went 25th overall and some of these guys were arguably more productive college players than Smith. All I’m saying is that Smith might not be as valued by NFL GM’s as he is in the media.

Odds Smith falls to 27: 50%

 

Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech

Edmunds possesses the physical tools that Roquon Smith does not. At 6’4” 250 lbs, Edmunds has elite size for the position and is currently my #1 rated “off ball” linebacker due to his versatility.

Odds Edmunds falls to 27: 60%

 

Rashaan Evans, Alabama

Of these three linebackers, Evans appears to me to be the ideal fit for what the Saints want in a weakside linebacker. He possesses size, speed, physicality, instincts and blitzing ability. I currently have Evans rated as a top 25 prospect and would view him as a hard player to pass if the Saints have a shot at him.

Odds Evans falls to 27: 65%

 

 

 

Cornerback

As I did with the Saints current linebacking core, I rescouted the Saints secondary recently and even I must admit that I didn’t fully appreciate the season Ken Crawley had in 2017. Yes, he is still the most penalized player on the defense and can get too grabby at times but his play for the most part was stellar, particularly inside the redzone and with most opposing quarterbacks shying away from Lattimore, Crawley more than held his own out on the edge and I don’t expect him to give up his job so easily. Then there is the potential return of former starter Delvin Breaux who looked like a top flight corner in the last 8 games he was available, still this is the NFL and you can never have enough cover guys.

 

Joshua Jackson, Iowa

There seems to be a growing concern over Jackson’s deep speed but he’s got solid technique, great size and is a ball hawk.

Odds Jackson falls to 27: 60%

 

Carlton Davis, Auburn

Davis is physical with good size and speed and developed into a shutdown corner for one of the best defenses in college football.

Odds Davis falls to 27: 80%

 

Mike Hughes, Central Florida

Hughes has big time closing speed and ball skills, good size and physicality and is versatile enough to play either on the edge or in the slot.

Odds Hughes falls to 27: 85%

 

Isaiah Oliver, Colorado

Others are a lot higher on Oliver than I am but he’s a borderline 1st round prospect for me with good size, speed, ball skills combination to give consideration at the end of round one.

Odds Oliver falls to 27: 90%

 

 

 

Safety

Like with Oakfor at defensive end, the importance of this position will depend on what the Saints opt to do with Kenny Vaccaro in free agency. Even if Vaccaro does not return in 2018, the Saints are set with Vonn Bell as their starter but will almost surely look to add depth to the position and if Vaccaro and the Saints agree to a contract extension, this position likely isn’t a potential 1st round priority.

 

Derwin James, Florida State

James draft stock has taken a major hit since this time last season where he was considered a future top 5 pick. Still this is a very talented athlete that will eventually be an excellent pro.

Odds James falls to 27: 40%

 

Justin Reid, Stanford

Reid is the brother of 49ers safety Eric Reid and is a very talented multi-purpose safety which is all the rage in the NFL these days and could be a catalyst for him becoming a 1st round pick.

Odds Reid falls to 27: 90%

 

Ronnie Harrison, Alabama

Harrison will be a scary prospect for NFL teams to evaluate but if NFL scouts come away convinced that Harrison can at least hold his own in coverage on the NFL level, his physical presence will warrant 1st round consideration.

Odds Harrison falls to 27: 90%

 

 

 

Well that’s it guys…

 

I hope you enjoyed reading about these prospects and please if you have any questions regarding this list or any prospect not listed just comment below and I’ll answer as soon as I can.

 

 

 

WHODAT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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No 1st round grade on Denzel Ward or just don't think he has a chance at being there at #27?

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I'm one of those guys who does not follow college ball to know who is best suited for our 2018 Saints team.

With that said, thanks @whodatworm23 for taking the time on this thread. :)

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9 hours ago, Raves said:

No 1st round grade on Denzel Ward or just don't think he has a chance at being there at #27?

Top 10 talent, #1 corner in draft... he not making it to 27, sadly. LOL

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5 hours ago, BossierWhoDat said:

I'm one of those guys who does not follow college ball to know who is best suited for our 2018 Saints team.

With that said, thanks @whodatworm23 for taking the time on this thread. :)

No problem

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17 hours ago, BossierWhoDat said:

I'm one of those guys who does not follow college ball to know who is best suited for our 2018 Saints team.

With that said, thanks @whodatworm23 for taking the time on this thread. :)

I'm right along with this. I'll see a few guys and do some film study to see what I think (youtube is a fabulous tool these days), but I certainly don't know many players names outside of my 3 Iowa teams (Hawkeyes, Cyclones, and UNI Panthers). So, I second @BossierWhoDat's sentiment.

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21 minutes ago, jcvoodoo said:

@whodatworm23, How did you come up with the percentages? 

Its just my own personal odds based on my scouting, grades and mock scenieros. 

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Excellent post, I'd be fine with either Mark Andrews or Calvin Ridley in the 1st Round for the offense. On defense I think you're underestimating our need at linebacker a bit, when I watched the Vikings game I think we left too many plays on the field due to our linebackers being too slow to make the play, don't know what you think about profootballfocus but Klein finished his season with a very poor rating [36.8], in addition Anzalone still has to prove that can stay healthy for a season, if were in a position to draft either Smith or Edmunds am thinking we rush to the podium without thinking twice. I also think there's a much, much higher chance of us re-signing Oakfor rather than Fairley returning from his heart condition after missing an entire season of football. I'm not sure which DT is the right-fit for us, the top guys look more like run-stuffers for a 3-4 rather than an explosive pass-rusher which is what we need, but either way I'd have this position as a close 2nd need for us on defense after linebacker.

 

 

Edited by Lyoane

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I doubt Edmunds and Smith fall to us in the draft, so I'm on the Evans hype train.

I really hope we can get one of those three in the draft though. We really need some more athleticism at the LB position.

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5 hours ago, JMG5 said:

I doubt Edmunds and Smith fall to us in the draft, so I'm on the Evans hype train.

I really hope we can get one of those three in the draft though. We really need some more athleticism at the LB position.

Granted we do but I dont feel it nessessarly has a 1st round priority unless a prospect with a tremendous grade falls to us. This offense needs more pop, a dyanimic WR and a athletic TE are major needs as well, id even put them higher on the priority list than LB but thats just my personal opinion. 

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18 minutes ago, whodatworm23 said:

Granted we do but I dont feel it nessessarly has a 1st round priority unless a prospect with a tremendous grade falls to us. This offense needs more pop, a dyanimic WR and a athletic TE are major needs as well, id even put them higher on the priority list than LB but thats just my personal opinion. 

While I do agree that the Saints need another offensive weapon, we need to continue to add to the defense. We had a good year in 2014 and then the defense fell apart and started playing terrible. We need to continue to add more talent to that side of the ball and continue building on a good year. I trust that the Saints will find a way to add another weapon to the offense either in free agency or later in the draft.

I do believe that LB is our biggest need on the defense, but I would be happy with them taking the best defensive player available regardless of position in this year's draft.

Edited by JMG5

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1 hour ago, JMG5 said:

While I do agree that the Saints need another offensive weapon, we need to continue to add to the defense. We had a good year in 2014 and then the defense fell apart and started playing terrible. We need to continue to add more talent to that side of the ball and continue building on a good year. I trust that the Saints will find a way to add another weapon to the offense either in free agency or later in the draft.

I do believe that LB is our biggest need on the defense, but I would be happy with them taking the best defensive player available regardless of position in this year's draft.

Looking at the Linebacker position in the draft...

 

Tre Edmunds is the clear cut top prospect amd it isn't even close reguardless of what the media keeps saying about Roquan Smith. Edmunds is a top 10-15 pick.

 

Smith and Alabama's Rashaan Evans is the only 2 other "off ball" linebackers that will go in round one and I have them graded fairly close. With these 2 its more of a scheme fit amd preference as to who will go before the other. I have both of them as top 25 picks and of the 2 I see Evans as the more ideal fit for what the Saints want at the position. If available, Id have zero issue with Evans being the Saints pick at 27.

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