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News » New Orleans Saints Inside Slant 2009-04-17

New Orleans Saints Inside Slant 2009-04-17

New Orleans Saints Inside Slant 2009-04-17
The Saints were able to bring back the veteran free agents they wanted to keep and added some parts to the puzzle where they needed help most -- on the defensive side of the ball. That gives the team lots of options in the draft.

What they don't have is lots of picks.

The Saints have just four selections -- including one in the first three rounds -- as a result of trades made last spring and summer.

But a shortage of draft picks shouldn't be a problem for the Saints because they positioned themselves nicely knowing they would not have selections in the second, third, fifth and sixth rounds.

The Saints have the 14th overall pick in the first round, which means they can take the best available player at a number of positions -- running back, outside linebacker or free safety -- depending on who's in their bullpen when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell puts them on the clock.

With so few high picks, trading up is one option the Saints certainly can't explore without having to trade away their first-round selection in the 2010 draft or a current veteran starter.

Trading back, if there are enough players they like at No. 14 are still on the board, is a much more likely possibility. That way, they could still get a good player they like to fill any number of needs and possibly pick up a second- or third-round pick to go with the first, two fourths and seventh they do have.

If there are no willing trade partners, the Saints will gladly keep the

first-round pick and choose the best player available -- even if he's an offensive player.

They could certainly use a power running back like Ohio State's Chris "Beanie" Wells or maybe even go for Georgia's Knowshon Moreno, who is a little lighter, to pick up the third-and-1 and fourth-and-1 running plays that cost them at least three games last season and put an already-shaky defense back on the field way too often.

Or they could go for an outside linebacker like Southern California's Brian Cushing, if they keep the 14th pick, or Clay Matthews if they opt to slide a back in the first round. Free safety is also a need, but none of the top prospects at that position are considered first-round material.

TEAM NEEDS: Running back, free safety, outside linebacker.

RB -- With Deuce McAllister gone, the Saints need another bruiser in the backfield to complement Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas, who, even though he's been a pleasant surprise, is more of a third-down back than an every-down pounder. It's extremely likely that one of the drafts top two running backs -- Chris Wells or Knowshon Moreno -- will be on the board when the Saints' turn comes up in the first round.

FS -- The Saints failed in an attempt to get Jacksonville's Gerald Sensabaugh, so they settled for one-year contracts with veterans Darren Sharper and Pierson Prioleau. They'll likely try to get a youngster at this spot with one of their two picks in the fourth round.

OLB -- While they're set in the middle after re-signing Jonathan Vilma, the Saints can look at this position for the future because strong-side linebacker Scott Fujita is going into the final year of his contract and weak-side 'backer Scott Shanle has only two years left on his deal.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 17, 2009

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Ricky Williams Name: Ricky Williams
Position: RB
Age: 31
Experience: 7 years
College: Texas
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