Pete Dixon is up next making the pick for the New Orleans Saints, and since he went above and beyond in his analysis, I'll break from the usual format of these picks and jump right into Pete's thinking:
The New Orleans Saints are coming off an 11-5 season that ended abruptly with a loss to the more determined 7-9 Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Wild Card Round. The loss was especially disappointing after having chased their division rival Atlanta Falcons for most of the season and beating them in 17 to clinch a playoff berth. A season removed from their Super Bowl victory, the visions of Drew Brees hoisting the Lombardi Trophy seem like a distant memory. The Falcons are the team to beat in the NFC South now and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are closing quickly.
The Saints' draft needs center on the defensive side of the ball. You can count on Greg Williams fielding a top notch unit but, depending on free agency, may have some glaring holes to fill. OLB's Clark, Shanle, Mitchell and Dunbar could all be gone. Expect them to look at adding to this mix in later rounds with one second round pick and two third rounders.
At DE, Will Smith has been solid, if unspectacular, and former Bear Alex Brown has been his reliable, predictable self and both have already seen their best years. The Saints need to add a serious pass rusher at the position. Possibilities with their 24th pick include Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue. Kerrigan may be a bit light for Williams' scheme but he is a disruptor and could find a spot as situational pass rusher.
Sedrick Ellis is locked in on at DT and the team added Shaun Rogers. Williams will want to bring in some young talent at the position. Still on the board are Corey Liuget, Illinois and Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple, who also projects as a DE. Liuget projects as a 3-tech and although he may not be a pure pass rushing DT, he can create a lot of havoc. Wilkerson is the better pass rusher who could also play anywhere along the line.
The team could potentially look at Safeties, RB's and OT's but there isn't the same sense of urgency in regard to these positions. There are some tempting prospects still on the board in S Aaron Williams and OT Gabe Carimi who may be worthy of the pick.
But, after much weighing and deliberation (read: coin flipping and dart throwing) with the 24th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft the New Orleans Saints select:
Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois.
Well done Pete.
Click here for a recap of all the picks thus far.
We're back around to Adam, who's next on the clock and picking for Seattle.