Pick #12 — New Orleans Saints
The Saints are a team in a decidedly uneviable position, stuck in perpetual cap hell while simultaneously trapped between former contention and full-scale rebuilding mode.
On one hand, they still have a top-level quarterback in Drew Brees and a couple weapons on offense, giving them enough to stay in practically every game they line up for.
On the other, the team keeps losing offensive talent each year — and in turn, a piece of their potency in that regard — and the defense has continued to be a mockery of the word quite possibly since they won their only Super Bowl after the 2009 season.
They could always focus on trying to give Brees more weaponry and/or protection first, but that would see them falling into the exact same potholes they continue to hit year after year.
If they want to take the more intelligent route, they will find themselves grabbing some kind of defensive player here at #12; the only question should be: who?
A corner to join the half-decent Kyle Wilson and remarkable Delvin Breaux would be nice, and give the defense an actual unit of strength they could lean on.
A linebacker might be nice, with that unit being the a sadsack agglomeration of unrefined inexperience & aging ineffectiveness.
The defensive line has the team’s best player not named Brees in Cam Jordan, but outside of him have neither any consistent pass rush help nor run stopping ability in the middle.
Due to the sheer number of them to pick from here, a lineman seems to be the most likely option. The team seems set to start trotting out a 4-3 defensive front, so that could drop a couple name off (such as Andrew Billings); still, tons of players remain to pick between.
The best of the bunch is probably Robinson, so that’s who I see them going for.
We could spend hours trying to discern “why him?”, but instead let’s just look at the player comparisons for him and a few other guys:
- Nkemdiche: Sharrif Floyd
- Rankins: Grady Jarrett
- Reed: Eddie Goldman
- Robinson: John Henderson
Of those comparisons, that Henderson one stands out; for those who don’t remember, he was an excellent lineman for nearly a decade in the 2000s, forming with the also-great Marcus Stroud in Jacksonville to form one of the more dominant interior DL tandems the league has seen.
Pairing Robinson on the line with Jordan wouldn’t be the same dynamic as Henderson-Stroud, but it could be the driving force behind the defense having a chance to find some consistency and/or dynamism for the first time since their early Gregg Williams-led groups.