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New Orleans Saints Needs: The Best Case Scenario for Boosting the Pass Rush

The New Orleans Saints already boost an impressive line. They have a tough young player in Sheldon Rankins, and an All-Pro lineman in Cameron Jordan. That doesn't mean they won't look for a potential starlet to fall to them at the 27th pick in the NFL Draft.
Saints Needs

The New Orleans Saints staff should be one high-tier pass rusher away from having an incredibly formidable front line. It already boasts a formidable, all-around weapon in Cam Jordan, who is coming off a career year in which he was selected to the Pro Bowl. The Saints also re-signed productive edge Alex Okafor. In addition, they have a sneaky-good player in Sheldon Rankins, whom they selected 12th overall in the 2016 draft.

That being said, should a rush man fall to the Saints at number 27 in the 2018 NFL Draft, they should pounce immediately. With performances from standouts like Marcus Williams and Marshon Lattimore in the secondary, this Saints defense could be one of the best ones yet again this season, something we haven’t seen from New Orleans (aside from last year) in a long time.

New Orleans Saints Needs: The Best Case Scenario for Boosting the Pass Rush

The 2018 defensive class is currently being hailed as one of the deepest classes in recent memory, with big names and “project” players alike catching the eyes of many scouts and fans. There are, without a doubt, headliners in the defensive line class as well, but the depth of the class and teams’ specific needs could leave to some linemen falling farther than expected.

The player picked below would be an immediate impact player. Due to his natural skill set, he may not be available for the Saints at the 27th pick in the first round. Most analysts give him a range from 10 to 27, meaning he could fall to the Saints, but it is just as likely that he will not. (See: Article Title).

If the Saints decide to focus solely on improving their defensive line right away in the draft, with their first-round pick, here’s what could be the best case scenario for them.

And Along Came Vita Vea…

Vita Vea hasn’t always been the superstar mismatch of a player that he is now. The monstrous tackle was ranked 40th in the nation at his position and was the 65th best player overall in California coming out of high school.

Vea hit the weight room and the playbook, doing all the work it took to ready both his body, and his mind, and turned himself into one of the best draft prospects in this year’s draft.

This year, Vea put up big numbers in just about every possible spot, playing all the way from nose tackle to five-technique. He thrived in Washington’s 3-4 scheme but his skill set would allow him to slot into just about any formation. This year, his stats included: 43 tackles, 30 solo tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, four passes defended, and 3.5 sacks in 12 games.

Recently, analysts have begun showing the possibility in their drafts that Vea may slip down to the lower picks of the first round. In a deep class, and with most teams having needs elsewhere, I wouldn’t knock the chances.

Vea has a unique skill set with a combination of size, strength, and athleticism that could earn him a look as far up as in the Top 10 of the draft, but some still regard him as a raw prospect.

Vea, however, will almost certainly make an impact wherever he ends up. He has a rare mixture of speed and size that allows him to make plays against double or even triple team blocks. His versatility is incredibly useful for coaches to fit him into their scheme, and he is regarded as a hard worker.

If Vea happens to fall to the Saints pick at 27, he may be too talented of a prospect to pass up on, even though there are needs in other places.

A New Orleans front line with Jordan and Vea together would certainly be a fit for offensive coordinators to have to deal with, and another weapon for Sean Payton and company to utilize as they make another push to the Super Bowl under Drew Brees.

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