The New Orleans Saints are set to make their pick for the first ever SB Nation Arizona mock draft. The Saints had the distinction of losing in the playoffs to the Seattle Seahawks, who were only 7-9 during the regular season but won the NFC West and became the first ever sub-.500 playoff team. New Orleans does not need much help on offense, as Drew Brees leads their high-scoring offense, but they have holes all along the front seven of their defense. With the 24th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Saints select:
Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple
Former Heisman winner Mark Ingram is still on the board and the Saints have a need at running back, but their lack of a running game was more due to injury than anything else. Also, history shows that you can get a solid running back in the later rounds of the draft.
Since the team has great needs on defense, that is where their pick lies. Selecting Wilkerson is a shocker, much like last year's draft when DT Dan Williams fell all the way to the Cardinals. On Mel Kiper's big board, he ranks number 11 overall. He is huge and causes disruptions at the line of scrimmage with his penetration. He logged 10 sacks in 2010 from the DT position. Having a guy of his size and strength on the interior defensive line will be a major boost to the Saints as they attempt to return to the Super Bowl.
Next up in the draft are the Seattle Seahawks. I will make the pick for them.
Check out the mock draft on the Arizona Cardinals team blog Revenge of the Birds to see who both the community and the writers are projecting.
2011 SBN AZ Mock Draft recap:
1- Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn (Jess Root)
2- Denver Broncos: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M (Cory Williams)
3- Buffalo Bills: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri (Scott Howard)
4- Cincinnati Bengals: AJ Green, WR, Georgia (JR)
5- Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU (CW)
6- Cleveland Browns: Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson (SH)
7- San Francisco 49ers: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina (JR)
8- Tennessee Titans: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn (CW)
9- Dallas Cowboys: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama (SH)
10- Washington Redskins: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama (JR)
11- Houston Texans: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska (CW)
12- Minnesota Vikings: Tyron Smith, OT, USC (SH)
13- Detroit Lions: Cameron Jordan, DE, California (JR)
14- St. Louis Rams: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue (CW)
15- Miami Dolphins: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama (SH)
16- Jacksonville Jaguars: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado (JR)
17- New England Patriots: J.J. Watts, DE, Wisconsin (CW)
18- San Diego Chargers: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado (JR)
19- New York Giants: Mike Pouncey, C, Florida (JR)
20- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College (CW)
21- Kansas City Chiefs: Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor (SH)
22- Indianapolis Colts: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois (JR)
23- Philadelphia Eagles: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri (CW)
24- New Orleans Saints: Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple (JR)