After three long months of what seemed like nonstop talk about the NFL draft, which has evolved into one of the most over-hyped events of the year, Sunday was a day of rest.
After 254 selections were made in an often head-spinning 48-hour period between Thursday night and Saturday, it was a perfect time for a little break.
So after a day to let everything soak in, here are a few observations about the New Orleans Saints’ five-man 2013 draft class and what it could mean for Sean Payton’s team down the road.
Of course, let’s not forget that it will take a lot longer than one day to find out how the Saints really fared. It will be months, perhaps two or three years, before we can determine if the Saints went boom or bust in this draft.
WITH THE 15TH PICK …: Many mock drafts in the past couple of weeks had the Saints using their first pick on either LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo or Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones.
When Mingo went nine picks earlier, many had the pass-rushing Jones in mind. But the Saints went with Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro, who could help a secondary in dire need of defenders who can cover.
Vaccaro was the best cover safety in the draft, which could be a start to helping the NFL’s 31st-ranked pass defense.
ALL THE RIGHT MOVES: Give the Saints credit for hustling to get two trades done late in the third round that could greatly benefit their 32nd-ranked run defense as well.
Trading running back Chris Ivory for a fourth-round draft pick that was packaged with their own fourth-rounder for the pick they used to get Georgia defensive tackle John Jenkins could pay huge dividends.
If there’s one thing the Saints need more than someone who can cover in the secondary, it’s someone who can stop the run, and the 359-pound Jenkins could be the man.
PROTECTING THE FRANCHISE: Until the deal that landed Jenkins went down, Saints’ fans had to love the selection of tackle Terron Armstead just seven picks earlier.
Armstead was hardly known outside the Southwestern Athletic Conference last fall, but his draft stock soared when he took advantage of an opportunity to show what he had at the Senior Bowl and combine workouts and made a name for himself with his speed and quickness for a 6-feet-5, 304-pounder.
While he’s a raw talent, it’s easy to see Armstead settling in at left tackle in the near future to protect Drew Brees’ blindside.
DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH?: With the selection of wide receiver Kenny Stills Jr. in the fifth round and outside linebacker Rufus Johnson in the sixth, the Saints were hoping to add more pieces to the puzzle.
Stills will have to earn his spot in a deep receiving corps, while Johnson will be asked to make a position change from defensive end while making the leap from a small school to the NFL — which the Saints have proven time and again can be done.
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