Saints looking defensive line in 1st round? Check out Nick Underhill's post-free agency mock draft _lowres

Shaq Lawson runs drills at Clemson's NFL football Pro Day Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)


The one thing I keep coming back to when looking at the draft is that the New Orleans Saints could use a few more picks.

So, if for some reason when New Orleans comes on the clock for the first time in next month’s draft, if there isn’t a player it has to have, I’d have no issue with the Saints dropping down in the first round and acquiring another pick.

It just seems hard to see how the team can address all of its needs and feel comfortable with the potential solutions with only six picks.

Maybe the team slides in right before the Bengals in the first round and snags Ohio State wide receiver Michael Thomas. The Saints would then have two picks in the second to grab another weakside linebacker and a defensive tackle.

That seems like a very ideal scenario. But, of course, what looks ideal in late March probably isn’t going to be how things play out come April.

So, with that said, here’s a guess at how the first three rounds might fall if New Orleans stays put at 12.

First round: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson

I’m very intrigued by the possibility of Hau’oli Kikaha moving down to defensive end. At the very least, he’ll serve in the sub-rush. At best, he could potentially become an every down player there. But there are no guarantees that he will be a three-down player at defensive end. And if Kikaha does emerge as that player, having too many defensive ends would be better than not having enough. That’s why Lawson is the pick here.

Second round: Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State

There’s a reason the Saints had trouble giving up on Joe Morgan. It’s because they want a receiver who can stretch the field. Thomas can be that guy — and do a whole lote more. He’s still a little raw in his route running, but he’s the type of receiver this offense has lacked for a few years. Getting him in the fold would help take some of the pressure off of Brandin Cooks and open things for everyone else. The only issue here is that Thomas could be climbing up draft boards. If the Saints really like him, there’s a chance he might not be on the board this long.

Third round: Joshua Garnett, G, Stanford

The biggest remaining hole on the offensive line is guard. And while it would be ideal for New Orleans to get another linebacker or defensive tackle in this round, I don’t think it can afford to wait to address this need. Garnett is very good prospect and has experience playing with Saints tackle Andrus Peat. Sean Payton has also expressed his affinity for Stanford players on numerous occasions.