With the 14th pick in the BBV Mock Draft, the Saints select ...

We have reached the 14th pick in our Big Blue View Community Mock Draft. Our man 'CodyK' is picking for the New Orleans Saints, and Cody certainly has not wasted his opportunity to have the floor. He has made his selection, and written a book to explain it.

14. Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee

OK - so last year the NO Saints had a powerhouse offense: and ended the season ranked number one in points scored and number one in yards - which is impressive considering the injuries to basically their starting RB stable (Deuce, Reggie Bush, etc.) and the fact that their #1 WR (M Colston) missed essentially the first half of the season. So offense is not an issue. Brees is a threat to break 400 yards passing every time he steps on the field and with weapons on the edges (Colston and Lance Moore), out of the backfield (Pierre Thomas), etc. this team simply doesn't need anymore weapons.
Defense however is another story. Take a look. 26th in points allowed and 23rd in yards allowed. It's a miracle that they were in the playoff race as long as they were with that D. So defense has gotta be a huge priority for the Saints.
The choice here is easy. I wanted to further upgrade thedefensive line at first. So at first glance, I wanted Maybin here, but missed him by four slots. Then I thought about LB - but with Fujita and Vilma (JV resigned in February for 5 years and the Saints gave up a decent amount to get Vilma in the first place) I thought the Saints were actually ok at the LB spot. So to look for a true need, its gotta be playmaker in the secondary. Jenkins would be perfect here, but the Packers picked him up already.
So I'm going with Robert Ayers, DE from Tennessee. I can bookend him with Charles Grant and rotate in Will Smith. Ayers is huge - 6'3", 272 pounds. ESPN.com lists him as the 15th best overall player, and 3rd at his position. Additionally, it looks like he has the versatility to play LB. At worst, he can drop off into coverage and play as a hybrid. This gives the D tremendous flexibility.
I'll let these guys tell the story - this is from April 5th, 2009:
Ayers continued his ascension up draft boards with an impressive performance at the Tennessee Pro Day, working out as a defensive end and linebacker. His 7.07 time in the 3-cone drill, designed to show agility and quickness, was a huge improvement over the 7.56 time he ran in the same drill at the combine. - Rob Rang, The SportsXchange, NFLDraftScout.com
And, according to these guys, he's not even on the radar. Which I don't fully understand, but sometimes the best picks are the ones no one thought of. Interestingly, the Turf Show Times blog has the Bills taking him at #11. And Kiper agrees.
Now, he apparently did get into some trouble and was convicted of assault during a fight of some sort (the charges were pleaded down). However: he kept his record squeaky clean since then and I like that he has stayed out of trouble.
So here's what I like about him the most - this kid worked his ass off to be a solid member of the team. In 2008, Ayres was All-Southeastern Conference and shared the Andy Spiva Award (given to the team's most improved defensive player).
To read more about Ayres, check this out: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/518624
I think he is a classic example of a guy that is growing up quickly and maturing as a football player. The physical skills have always been there, its just that now he is finally growing up and understanding how hard he has to work to be successful. Its pretty clear to me that he would be a much higher rated prospect had he played at a higher level before just this season.

My thoughts: After all that, I have nothing left to add.

-- The Houston Texans are on the clock. We will await the selection from 'one-bar.'
1. Detroit Lions (selected by 'cjmulrain')
Jason Smith, OT, Baylor: Conventional wisdom says that the Lions are going to select quarterback Matt Stafford of Georgia, but since I'm running the show I'm going in a different direction. I'm not convinced that Stafford is going to be a star QB in the league, and when you're taking a guy with the first pick I don't think you can have any doubts about it, especially when you're coming off the first ever 0-16 season in NFL History. Even if Stafford does have the tools to be a great quarterback, the Lions have no semblance of an O-line to protect him, putting him at risk to develop David Carr syndrome if he were brought in to play right away. To address this, I went with Smith, who profiles as a potential franchise left tackle. I strongly believe in the philosophy of building a football team from the lines out and think a team as devoid of talent as the Lions would be better served with a rock at left tackle. I was tempted by Aaron Curry but think there will be better value on the defensive side of the ball at the 20th pick than there will be on the O-line. As for QB, let's just say that I'm not too optimistic about the prospects for the 2009 Lions and like the thought of Colt McCoy in silver and blue.
2. St. Louis Rams ('Woogie526')
Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest: Well this decision was originally going to be a selfish one by the new coach. However, with Jason Smith off the board, it became a no-brainer. I choose Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest. He would be the brain of Spag's defense. In the crazy schemes Spags uses, he needs a general on the field to organize blitzes and coverages.
3. Kansas City Chiefs ('jrs1940')
Brian Orapko, OLB, Texas: Orakpo is an NFL ready defensive end. He is 6-4 and 258 pounds and a great athlete who can power or finesse his way into the backfield. He tallied four tackles-for-loss and a half a sack as a freshman and earned Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year honors. The following year he managed 4.5 sacks and six tackles-for-loss. As an upperclassman last season Orakpo improved those numbers and ended up with 5.5 sacks and nine tackles-for-loss, although his playing time was limited due to a knee injury. He is much better than that guy the Rams stole from us, I’m glad we didn’t get him.
4. Seattle Seahawks ('bkurcz')
Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia: I know its not the sexy pick, with Stafford and Crabtree still out there, but it's the pick that makes the most sense. The three main areas that Seattle needs to improve are O-line, WR and secondary. The WR depth in the draft is pretty good, I'm sure there is going to be an attractive prospect early in the second round at that position. Number 4 is a little early to take any of this year's DBs and a future replacement for Matt Hasselback can wait 'til late in the draft or next year. So, my pick for a guy that has proven himself at guard and tackle is a smart way to go. Especially because Walter Jones isn't getting any younger.
5. Cleveland Browns ('jp2y')
Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech: With stud pass-rushing talent Brian Orakpo fresh off of the board, Mangini and Kokinis select the gifted receiver from Texas Tech, Michael Crabtree. His off-the-charts production at Tech proved that he was not merely a system product of Mike Leach's high-octane offense. There have been rumblings of a Giants-Browns trade for Braylon Edwards for weeks now, and the Browns have done nothing to dispel those rumors. Crabtree will replace the talented yet drop-prone Edwards, and replace him as Cleveland's deep threat for the next decade, and most likely develop into an All-Pro talent. The extra picks obtained from the Edwards trade will allow Mangini to focus on the defensive side of the ball.
6. Cincinnati Bengals ('ETVal')
Andre Smith, OT, Alabama: The Bengals are like the baggage claim service at the airport. They love to collect players with suitcases full of it, and that makes the enigmatic Smith the perfect pick in this spot. The fact that Cincinnati desperately needs someone who can help keep Carson Palmer in one piece, and that the 6-foot-4, 332-pound Smith should do that quite well, is just a bonus.
7. Oakland Raiders ('hoyadestroya85')
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland: Throwing it deep is what the Raiders are all about. We already have our Howitzer Armed Quarterback, so now what we need is a guy to go over the top of defenses. There is no better person for this role than Darrius Heyward-Bey from Maryland. I know he doesn't have the "production" and he may be a "workout warrior" but this guy is what the Raiders are all about. We don't want little dump off passes like the Rich Gannon/Jon Gruden days. Chicks dig the long ball and that's what we're gonna give them.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars ('mymanren')
B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College: Jacksonville has glaring needs at WR and in their interior defense. Maclin is a very tempting pick here, but his skills are still pretty raw and will need time to develop. Jacksonville is one season removed from an 11-5 record, and will probably make a safer pick that can have more of an immediate impact. Raji will wreak havoc in the middle with John Henderson and will take attention away from the two DEs they drafted last year. Jacksonville definitely missed Stroud last season, and are now also without Mike Peterson. Jacksonville still needs a WR with Jones, Williams, and Porter all gone, but this is a receiver rich draft and the Jags have been burned by high WR picks. I think they'll go for offense with their other picks. Also, David Garrard is their guy they won't throw this pick away on a QB. In the real draft I think Jacksonville is a prime candidate to trade down.
9. Green Bay Packers ('Dick Murdock')
Malcom Jenkins, CB, Ohio State: After nearly wetting themselves when B.J. Raji almost slipped to this spot, the Pack must recollect themselves and get as much value as possible. There are a bunch of pressing needs at DE, DT, and OT. They also have two elder CB in Harris and Woodson. I was tempted to take Everette Brown, however, he doesn't fit the mold of a 3-4 DE. I also gave other consideration on the defensive line, but decided on Malcolm Jenkins because both of their CBs are on the wrong side of 30.

This is a reach and I don't think entirely too much of this player, but my plan got spoiled when Raji was selected. I would also consider selecting one of the QBs and later trade in a package, but that's a whole new can of worms.
10. San Francisco 49ers ('Free Bradshaw')
Aaron Maybin, OLB, Penn State: 49ers get probably the second best DE prospect in the draft. Like Orakpo and Everette Brown, I think they all would be better suited to play their natural position, 4-3 DE. But as a 3-4 OLB, Maybin can use his speed, strenght and pass-rushing ability to help the Niners do what they had trouble doing, get to the QB. Since the Niners go in this direction, they have confirmeed that Manny Lawson is a true bust. They won't cut him, but at least him and Maybin will push each other for playing time It could work out well cuz Giants fans know that too many pass rushers is a good thing.

This was a tough pick cuz I don't really think the Niners want Maybin. I could have grabbed either QB, but I think Shaun Hill is their starter and they like him. Also Alex Smith is still on the roster. I also thought about Jeremy Maclin, but the Niners have a bunch of young WR they want to develop. OT- Oher was also an option, but they signed Marvel Smtih.
11. Buffalo Bills ('Greek')
Everette Brown, DE, Florida State: The Bills are in a tough spot with this pick as they can go in several directions. A lot depends on how negotiations with starting LT Jason Peters progress. Assuming that Jason Peters is still a Buffalo Bill when the draft starts, the biggest area of need for this team is an improved pass rush. With 13.5 sacks last year, Brown will make an immediate impact for a team that totaled only 24 sacks in 2008. Brown will be able to play outside in a 4-3 scheme and not be forced to convert to a rush linebacker, allowing him to contribute right away. Many experts have the Bills looking at Oklahoma State TE Brandon Pettigrew with this pick. However, with Dick Jauron having to win now to keep his job next year, and the addition of TO on the offensive side of the ball, an impact defensive pass rush specialist is the smart pick here.
12. Denver Broncos ('lizard')
Matt Stafford, QB, Georgia: This is one of the Broncos two first round picks after the Cutler deal. Many of the football talking heads believe the Broncos might package this pick and the #18 pick to move up and take a QB, probably Sanchez. I don't see that happening. I think Orton will be the starter and if the Broncos trade two first round picks for a QB, what are they really gaining from the Cutler deal? The Broncos are switching from a poor 4-3 to a 3-4 and need the right personnel. If B.J Raji was available, he would have been the pick here without hesitation. Raji would have become the all-important 3-4 nose tackle. If Stafford actually did fall to the Broncos, they would probably trade out of this pick to acquire more picks in later rounds. Some team would definitely trade up to get Stafford here. McDaniels is a Belichick disciple and knows the value of trading down in the draft. Although Denver has more pressing defensive needs, Stafford is too good a value to pass on him right here. And since I can't trade out, Stafford is the pick.
13. Washington Redskins ('Rick Snider')
Mark Sanchez, QB, USC: Seriously, I can't believe Sanchez will be around for the 13th pick. But given in this mock draft that he is, the Redskins would gladly grab him. In fact, don't be surprised to see them trade up to do it. The Redskins missed trading for Denver quarterback Jay Cutler and incumbent Jason Campbell is in his last year. The Redskins don't want to re-sign Campbell so grabbing a quarterback to groom for one year under coach Jim Zorn is a given. (Uh, whatever happened to second-year passer Colt Brennan that everyone wants to anoint as the next Sonny Jurgensen? Last year's model, baby. Dan Snyder likes shiny new toys.) So, Sanchez is the pick for this draft.
14. New Orleans Saints ('CodyK')
14. Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee: The choice here is easy. I wanted to further upgrade thedefensive line at first. So at first glance, I wanted Maybin here, but missed him by four slots. Then I thought about LB - but with Fujita and Vilma (JV resigned in February for 5 years and the Saints gave up a decent amount to get Vilma in the first place) I thought the Saints were actually ok at the LB spot. So to look for a true need, its gotta be playmaker in the secondary. Jenkins would be perfect here, but the Packers picked him up already. So I'm going with Robert Ayers, DE from Tennessee.
15. Houston Texans ('one-bar')

16. San Diego Chargers ('Bajaserge')

17. New York Jets ('mwilli')

18. Denver Broncos ('lizard')

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers ('DaBigBlue')

20. Detroit Lions (from Dallas Cowboys, 'cjmulrain')

21. Philadelphia Eagles ('queler')

22. Minnesota Vikings ('NYG 28')

23. New England Patriots ('potroast')
NFL TEAM

24. Atlanta Falcons ('kingofatlanta')

25. Miami Dolphins ('gobs56')
NFL TEAM

26. Baltimore Ravens ('mahmoodzaky')

27. Indianapolis Colts ('SBaker')

28. Philadelphia Eagles (from Carolina Panthers, 'queler')

29. New York Giants ('ETVal')

30. Tennessee Titans ('GullySully77')

31. Arizona Cardinals ('cgerycz')
NFL TEAM

32. Pittsburgh Steelers ('squid92')

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