New Orleans Saints: 2014 NFL Draft a Crucial One

Monday night's 34-7 loss to Seattle not only knocked the Saints down in contention for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs; but it exposed many weaknesses in not only the defense, but the offense too.

Sean Payton's team looks to still be in good shape to make a deep playoff run, but they're going to have to create more stability in critical starting positions to have a legitimate chance at the Super Bowl.

As a part of our 2014 NFL Draft coverage, let's take a look at potential spots the Saints could look to improve in May.


Offensive Line: There's no doubt that the Saints need to protect Drew Brees, and they have done that pretty well thus far in 2013. The O-Line is doing what it needs to do to stay in the NFL's top-10, but they are far from perfect. There have been injuries to the Tackles, and the play at that spot has been far from perfect. Starters Charles Brown and Zach Strief will be free agents this offseason, forcing now-rookie Terron Armstead to step in at some point. There's just not enough depth at this position right now, leaving the Saints with no other option but to draft a Left Tackle.

POTENTIAL OPTIONS

OT Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M: Ogbuehi will often get over-shadowed by Jake Matthews, my top OT prospect, but there's no reason to believe he'll fall further than the top-10 of the second round.

Ogbuehi handles the pass protection duties very well, a trait he displayed in a very good game against Alabama. He plays on the right side at A&M, but a switch to the left side shouldn't be out of the question. New Orleans may need help on the right side however, making Ogbuehi a near-perfect fit at the end of the first round.

OT Seantrel Henderson, Miami: Henderson is one of the more interesting prospects of the 2014 class. While he has tremendous size and athleticism, there's room for improvement in his game. He lunges at defenders too often and has bad habits including trying to chop linemen low. He can overpower people, but he'll often do too much instead of making a clean block.

Henderson is going to get a lot better with NFL coaching and, unless he impresses many in individual workouts, he should be there when the Saints draft late in the 2nd round.

Cornerbacks: The current depth chart is a mess at cornerback right now, leaving Keenan Lewis and Corey White to start after a few injuries. This secondary is anything but a sure thing--something that was on display last night after seeing Lewis get beat multiple times. While it might not be the first priority, New Orleans needs to get some talent at cornerback.

POTENTIAL OPTIONS

CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State: There has been a lot of controversy surrounding Roby this season. Coming into his Junior year, he was touted as the top prospect of 2014. After getting picked on by Wisconsin, he hasn't been the cornerback that many thought we would see.

If he does declare, he could be the Saints' pick late in the first round. While he hasn't proven to be elite this season, he has undeniable talent and instincts. He can jar the ball lose and be an impact player at the next level. Look for New Orleans to take a close look at the Ohio State corner.

CB Louchiez Purifoy, Florida: Purifoy might be a player that slips to the third round, and if he's there--the Saints must pick up this play maker. He plays with a lot of heart and passion and has good size for an NFL corner.

While he has shown that he can be beat by elite play makers, his form and athleticism is worth a draft pick in the 3rd round. New Orleans wouldn't have to start Purifoy right away. With time to develop, he could become a steal.

Outside Linebacker: Rob Ryan's 3-4 base defense has worked great this year. Could you imagine what a few more athletic play makers flying around the field would make this team? This defense is already decent, but fresh legs at the OLB slots is just what the doctor ordered for an unbelievable threatening 'D'.

POTENTIAL OPTIONS

OLB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State: Like Roby, Shazier has slipped down on many of the big boards. While he hasn't looked as athletic as hoped at times, he is still a solid tackler that will make plays in the NFL. Once he shows what he is made of when scouts look at him in workouts, I expect him to be a first round pick.

He might not be there when the Saints pick, but if he is, this is a no-brainer pick.

OLB Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech: Attaochu would be a perfect fit in this 3-4 defense. He is an athletic player who has the ability to rush the passer consistently and read plays. He is a violent player and plays with tremendous fire.

With depth needed, the Saints should look to Attaochu on Day 2 if he is available. He brings four-year experience and a play making presence to a defense.

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