Jack, widely considered one of the best players in the draft has it all. He’s powerful, athletic and versatile, capable of covering running backs, tight ends and slot receivers in today’s game. But the reason he might be available is also the reason he could give the Saints pause; teams have to clear his surgically-repaired knee.
Defensive end, Clemson
Back at the NFL scouting combine, Sean Payton said the Saints’ top need was a pass rusher. With Ohio State’s Joey Bosa likely gone, Lawson might be the draft’s second-best player off the edge, an all-around force who racked up 12.5 sacks during Clemson’s run to the national title game last year and plays the run with authority.
New Orleans has done plenty of work on Lynch in the months leading up to the NFL Draft, and the tall, strong-armed passer has all the tools, which means he might be off the board. If he lasts, the question is whether or not the Saints’ interest in a Drew Brees replacement is worth the No. 12 pick one year after taking Garrett Grayson.
Defensive tackle, Louisville
New Orleans has players who can bring pressure off the edge, but the Saints have struggled to find the kind of dominant tackle who can get in a quarterback’s face up the middle. Rankins fits the Aaron Donald-Geno Atkins mold of a three-technique tackle who’s a little undersized but makes up for it with elite quickness for a big man.
Wide receiver, Ole Miss
The Saints parted ways with Marques Colston, leaving a spot open in the offense for a big-bodied pass-catcher who can work the middle of the field. Treadwell is slower than most elite receivers, but at 6-foot-3, 216 pounds, he has the big body, exceptional hands, acrobatic ability and toughness to fill in for Colston over the middle and in the red zone.