Chuggin. turpinforpresident has the mic:
#13, New Orleans Saints - Shane Ray (DE, Missouri)
For New Orleans, this draft has to be all about building onto their defense, which has been atrocious the last couple years. In fact, that may be the thought process behind some of the trades they've made. They still have quite a bit to work with on offense. Drew Brees likely only has a few Drew Brees years left in him, but for now, he still has to be considered one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Thus, even after losing Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills, they can work with what they have on offense (maybe with some minor additions), but they aren't going to be winning any championships soon if they don't improve their putrid defense. That seems to be the thought process, anyway.
With that in mind, New Orleans, in my opinion, is actually in pretty good position here at 13. Besides the two quarterbacks at the top, the hallmark of this draft class is the tremendous defensive talent at the top. In particular, this is one of the best-looking groups of edge rushers in the first round that we have seen in years. There are so many players talented enough to crack the top ten that it's more or less an inevitability that a couple are going to get pushed into the teens. New Orleans, then, should just sit back and go with the BPA on defense.
In this case, that BPA is Shane Ray. On talent and athleticism alone, Ray could go top 5. If he falls this far, it will be for one or both of two reasons: 1) There are so many good edge rushers near the top that he falls out of circumstance, and 2) There are legitimate concerns about his ability to transition from the traditional 4-3 end to the 3-4 outside linebacker. On talent alone, however, he's a steal at 13.
Mizzou lately has been a hotspot for producing pass-rushing talent: Kony Ealy and Michael Sam were drafted last year, and this year Shane Ray and Markus Golden will be added to the list. The Mizzou ends all seem to follow the same basic prototype, but what sets Ray apart is his freakish athleticism. He missed the Combine due to injury, but it's been rumored that his 40-yard dash has been as high as 4.4. He also has a 10 foot broad jump and can bench press over 400 lbs. Even if you're not one who buys workout numbers as an indication of what a player can bring to the next level, his 2014 season made his talent obvious. After Ealy and Sam moved on, it was Markus Golden who was expected to step in and have a monster year. Instead, Ray took the SEC by force, recording 22 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks.
Ray has both the talent and game tape to back up his worth at this juncture. While it is not a guarantee he would transition well to the 3-4 defense, for a team as starved for young defensive talent as the Saints, he's worthy of the selection. He could prove to be a major steal at pick 13.
I like what turp's laying down. I'd expect little to no beef from the boys over at Canal Street Chronicles who took Florida DE Dante Fowler in the blogger mock. Still, Nola's in a good spot, unlike the Rams. They can sit at 13 and let the defensive prospects come to them before we get into the teens which are certain to turn mock drafts into a hot mess.