Saints Draft Preview: Cal quarterback Jared Goff believes he has answers to the NFL’s questions _lowres

California quarterback Jared Goff passes during California's NFL Pro Day Friday, March 18, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

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By now, you’ve read at least a hundred mock drafts, some of them on a weekly basis, and a little fatigue is starting to set into your draft-addled mind. You still click on them, sure, but it’s hard to find a fresh take when you’ve already seen 10 different players projected to the Saints at the 12th pick.

The Advocate’s Saints team is about to change all of that. The problem with most mocks is simple: the drafter is making decisions for all 32 teams, rather than reacting to the unpredictability of 31 other teams with a bunch of general managers who might have a completely different board sitting in front of them.

So here’s our set of ground rules. Advocate writers Nick Underhill and Joel A. Erickson will play the roles of the two highest-ranking decision-makers in the Saints draft room. A mock draft simulator will handle the roles of the other 31 teams, forcing Underhill and Erickson to put together the best six-pick draft they can while dealing with the whims of rogue general managers everywhere. When it’s time for the Saints to pick, Underhill and Erickson will argue over who’s available and try to come to a consensus pick who can fill a hole in New Orleans.

Underhill had final say in the first, third and seventh rounds. Erickson had veto power in the other rounds.

Or in other words, they’ll just do what they do on Google chat every day, only this time you’ll get to see the conversation.

OFF THE BOARD

Titans: CB Jalen Ramsey

Browns: OT Laremy Tunsil

Chargers: DE Joey Bosa

Cowboys: DE Deforest Buckner

Jaguars: LB Myles Jack

Ravens: CB Vernon Hargreaves

49ers: QB Carson Wentz

Eagles: OT Ronnie Stanley

Bucs: CB Eli Apple

Giants: DE Shaq Lawson

Bears: DT A’Shawn Robinson

Joel: Oh no. I think I know where we’re headed.

Nick: We got ourselves a situation here. The Titans threw a wrinkle in everything by taking Jalen Ramsey first, which set off a chain reaction that caused Jared Goff to slide a little bit. This is a good example of how an unexpected pick or two can alter expectations. Now the Saints have a decision to make. We don’t know how the negotiations with Drew Brees are going. If it’s close, you try to deal this pick to the Rams and stock up on picks. If it’s not close, and you think Goff could be your guy for the next 10-15 years, you have to seriously consider taking him at this spot.

Joel: Right off the bat, the scenario opens one minor flaw in the process — namely, that we don’t know whether negotiations with Brees are close or not. But if I’m correct, you’re in favor of taking Goff even if Brees re-signs, right?

Nick: I wouldn’t hate it in theory. I also wouldn’t hate passing on him to maximize the window with Brees — especially if you’re going to be committed to him for four or five years. But if you really think that Goff could be your guy, it would be hard to pass up on this opportunity. These kinds of situations — Favre to Rodgers, Manning to Luck — don’t happen very often. You could be set for the foreseeable future. It can be hard to look at what’s going to be best for your team 10 years down the road when there are immediate needs, but you also have to take a long view.

Joel: I’m completely on board with taking a quarterback if I’m convinced he’s a Rodgers or Luck-type talent. The problem is I’m not convinced Goff’s that kind of guy. Goff’s got plenty of pluses, but the three Cal games I watched last fall were Utah, UCLA and Oregon. Small sample size, to be sure, but I came away thinking he was no sure thing. With that in mind, it’d be a hard pick for me to make.

Nick: That Utah game was on when we were at the sports bar in Philadelphia. That hurt. I was hyping Goff all fall and then those five interceptions happened. He’s not a perfect prospect. You’ve illustrated that by citing his worst performance as a collegiate player, but I still like him and think there are a lot of things to develop. He could be very good in Sean Payton’s offense, and incubating behind Brees for a year would help. Having said that, for the sake of argument, who are you taking here if it isn’t Goff?

Joel: For what it’s worth, it wasn’t only the Utah game that left me wanting more, but I’m also no scout, and I know I didn’t watch every throw of his college career. You may have; I was on vacation the last four days, so I don’t know what kind of film binges you’ve slipped into over the weekend.

Here’s the thing with the 12th pick. In this draft, based on what we know now, it sort of feels like there’s a clear-cut elite eight or so, then a bunch of players who might be pretty close from pick No. 10 to pick No. 50 or so. That’s why I’d like to trade down, but unfortunately, no one’s ringing our cell phones right now with an offer from first-pick dot com. If I’m picking here, I like Rankins. Granted, he’s become almost a cliche by now in mocks, but outside of a freak coverage linebacker, the biggest thing I want for the Saints is an interior pass rusher. One of the keys to a rush like Denver’s is that guys like Malik Jackson and Derek Wolfe got so much push that quarterbacks had nowhere to go when Miller and Ware broke free off the edge. I know there’s lots of defensive tackles available, but I think Rankins’ production (14 sacks the last two years) and Senior Bowl performance the first two days were an indicator he might be special.

Nick: You make a strong case. The Saints’ interior pressure has existed on milk cartons for way too long. In theory, I think having Cam Jordan and (potentially) Hau’oli Kikaha coming off the edges will be good enough. But they can only do so much if this team doesn’t find a way to generate that middle push. I’d be in complete agreement on Rankins if Goff wasn’t available. But this draft is deep enough that I think we can nab another defensive tackle in a later round.

If we could make trades, I’d put this pick on the auction block and see what kind of offers are out there. We both agree that the Saints could use another pick or two in the first four rounds. That problem could be easily solved if this scenario actually plays out.

Having said that, it seems a little hypocritical to assert my veto power on this pick and select Goff since there are so many other needs, but that’s the move here.

Enjoy reading your mentions on Twitter. I assume this will induce anger.

Joel: We got through the entire discussion without even bringing up a guy whose name rhymes with Bread Smell. We might both be better off just taking a break from our mentions for a couple of days.

OFF THE BOARD

13. Dolphins: DT Andrew Billings

14. Raiders: CB Mackensie Alexander

15. Rams: OLB Darron Lee

16. Lions: NT Kenny Clark

17. Falcons: DE Emmanuel Ogbah

18. Colts: DE Noah Spence

19. Bills: DT Sheldon Rankins

20. Jets: G Cody Whitehair

21. Redskins: CB William Jackson III

22. Texans: LB Reggie Ragland

23. Vikings: WR Laquon Treadwell

24. Bengals: WR Josh Doctson

25. Steelers: DT Jarran Reed

26. Seahawks: RB Ezekiel Elliott

27. Packers: DE Kevin Dodd

28. Chiefs: QB Connor Cook

29. Cardinals: OT Jason Spriggs

30. Panthers: OT Taylor Decker

31. Broncos: OT Jack Conklin

32. Browns: WR Will Fuller

33. Titans: DT Vernon Butler

34. Cowboys: DT Maliek Collins

35. Chargers: LB Leonard Floyd

36. Ravens: OT Germain Ifedi

37. 49ers: CB Xavien Howard

38. Jags: DE/OLB Kamalei Correa

39. Bucs: LB Jaylon Smith

40. Giants: S Keanu Neal

41. Bears: S TJ Green

42. Dolphins: LB Su’a Cravens

43. Rams: WR Corey Coleman

44. Oakland: DT Chris Jones

45. Rams: QB Paxton Lynch

46. Lions: WR Michael Thomas

Nick: Well, that backfired a little bit. I was hoping for Mississippi State defensive tackle Chris Jones to fall here. I would have also campaigned very hard for Ohio State wide receiver Michael Thomas.

Joel: Eesh. Big run on the entire front seven, where Jaylon Smith — another Underhill favorite — and Su’a Cravens both came off the board, too. For me, this is where the depth of the defensive tackle class helps anybody who might have a need there. I like Florida’s Jonathan Bullard here, in part because of his versatility. Bullard wants to play the 3-technique, and that’s probably his natural position, but he’s also versatile enough to slide out and play the power end spot if a rash of injuries hits on the edge. Bobby Richardson made essentially the same move last season when New Orleans traded away Akiem Hicks. Bringing in a guy like Bullard can both help the interior pass rush and improve depth across the entire front.

Nick: Bullard hasn’t been discussed as much as some of the other defensive tackles in this class, but that’s more due to the depth of his position than what he brings as a prospect. He was a pretty disruptive player for Florida last year. He only had 6.5 sacks, but he also racked up 32 pressures and knocked down the quarterback 14 times. His 16.5 run stuffs would also be a nice addition to a run defense that didn’t exactly defend the run very well last season. If you watch his film, he sometimes got too wide in his rush, but that wouldn’t be much of an issue if he were playing defensive tackle.

Robert Nkemdiche’s on the board. Do you even consider him here?

Joel: For me, Nkemdiche’s a non-starter, and the off-the-field concerns are only a part of it. Nkemdiche has always had freakish ability, but the history of the NFL Draft is littered with guys whose production never matched their potential. Nkemdiche’s production at Ole Miss — season highs of just seven tackles-for-loss and three sacks — never matched the reputation. Now, anybody who watched him play Alabama this year saw a monster. But those of us who covered the SEC — which is where I was for two years before getting this gig — also saw plenty of games where Nkemdiche had minimal impact. Put that together with the off-the-field issues, and there’s just too many red flags there.

Nick: His splash plays can be really intoxicating. He’ll make your eyes pop when he flashes. But, I mean, the guy admitted he was lazy and didn’t always play hard last year. I don’t know how you pick a guy who admits his motor is questionable. Even if things were going well, you’d always be concerned about what’s around the corner. He could end up being a very good player, and I can see a scenario where some team is rewarded for taking a chance on him. But I’m not sure you can afford to take a gamble in the second round after taking Goff in the first.

Joel: Sounds like we’ve got a consensus. Jonathan Bullard, come on down. Can’t wait to see what the Mock Draft Simulator G.M.’s take off our board heading into the third.

OFF THE BOARD

48. Colts: S Karl Joseph

49. Bills: DE Shilique Calhoun

50. Falcons: OT Jerald Hawkins

51. Jets: DE Carl Nassib

52. Texans: G Landon Turner

53. Redskins: S Darian Thompson

54. Vikings: OT Shon Coleman

55. Bengals: CB Kendall Fuller

56. Seahawks: CB Zack Sanchez

57. Packers: DT Sheldon Day

58. Steelers: CB Keivarae Russell

59. Chiefs: WR Sterling Shepard

60. Patriots: CB Rashard Robinson

61. Patriots: WR Charone Peake

62. Panthers: S Jeremy Cash

63. Broncos: G Rees Odhiambo

64. Titans: WR Tyler Boyd

65. Browns: LB Joshua Perry

66. Chargers: DT Jihad Ward

67. Cowboys: RB Kenneth Dixon

68. 49ers: LB Jordan Jenkins

69. Jaguars: CB Harlan Miller

70. Ravens: WR Braxton Miller

71. Giants: TE Hunter Henry

72. Bears: QB Christian Hackenberg

73. Dolphins: CB Artie Burns

74. Buccaneers: S Miles Killebrew

75. Raiders: RB Derrick Henry

76. Rams: S Jayron Kearse

77. Eagles: RB Jordan Howard

Nick: Looks like we aren’t the only ones scared of Nkemdiche. If we hadn’t taken Goff, we’d be having a debate about the merits of taking a risk in the third round since the upside starts to outweigh the risk here.

I’m eyeing Stanford guard Joshua Garnett, South Carolina wide receiver Pharoh Cooper, Penn State defensive lineman Austin Johnson and LSU outside linebacker Deion Jones. I think the need at guard puts Garnett at the top. He’s also probably the best available player.

Joel: You lost a bunch of your favorites before the second-round pick; I’ve got a whole bunch of mine sitting here all at once in the third. Cooper plays with a physicality out of the slot that could make him a weapon over the middle; Johnson profiles as a nose tackle, but he also had 6.5 sacks last year; and Notre Dame’s Nick Martin can play either guard or center, always valuable in case of injury. I’ll throw a curveball at you — and get a little public sentiment back in my favor — by tossing out LSU’s Jalen Mills as a possibility.

New Orleans needs a safety, both to handle a backup role behind Kenny Vaccaro and Jairus Byrd, but also to potentially take over for Byrd. Mills offers an added bit of versatility by being capable of playing cornerback. He looked really good on the edge at the Senior Bowl, and if you’ve got a safety who can move down into the slot and cover receivers — Arizona’s Tyrann Mathieu, Green Bay’s Micah Hyde come to mind — it opens up some options for the defense.

Nick: Here’s my case for Garnett … I watched about 12 of his games from last season. Granted, I didn’t chart these games with the precision that I do Saints’ games, but I think I only saw him give up two sacks and maybe 15 total pressures. If those numbers aren’t completely accurate, they’re close.

I just think this is a massive need for the Saints. No disrespect intended to Tim Lelito, Senio Kelemete and (potentially) Andrus Peat, but the team needs more bodies at guard for now and in the future. I think Garnett is a very good option to be that guy. Sean Payton is also a big fan of David Shaw’s players, so that might give him a little bit of an edge here. The familiarity with Peat could also be a benefit.

I’m not against a safety, linebacker or wide receiver here. I just think guard is a bigger need and there isn’t enough value at another position for it to trump the need for me.

Joel: There’s the frantic Nick film binge I knew I’d get at some point. I sort of played devil’s advocate at first, but I’m also a fan of Garnett. Back at the Senior Bowl, I did a story on Garnett, and in talking to teammates, the word that kept coming up was “nasty.” New Orleans needs its offensive line to open up a few more holes for Mark Ingram next season, and nasty certainly can’t hurt.

Nick: Looks like Garnett is the pick.

OFF THE BOARD

79: Eagles: WR Leonte Carroo

80. Bills: WR Pharoh Cooper

81. Falcons: S Vonn Bell

82. Colts: OT Joe Haeg

83. Jets: QB Dak Prescott

84. Redskins: C Ryan Kelly

85. Texans: C Nick Martin

86. Vikings: G Darrell Greene

87. Bengals: S Sean Davis

88. Packers: LB Kentrell Brothers

89. Steelers: S Jalen Mills

90. Seahawks: DT Robert Nkemdiche

91. Patriots: DT Charles Tapper

92. Cardinals: G Christian Westerman

93. Panthers: RB Paul Perkins

94. Broncos: TE Nick Vannett

95. Lions: S DeAndre Houston-Carson

96. Patriots: OT La’Raven Clark

97. Seahawks: OT Willie Beavers

98. Broncos: RB Alex Collins

99. Browns: DE Aaron Wallace

100. Eagles: DT Austin Johnson

101. Cowboys: CB Eric Murray

102. Chargers: S Deiondre Hall

103. Jaguars: G Joe Dahl

104. Ravens: DT Hassan Ridgeway

105. 49ers: LB Dominique Alexander

106. Bears: DE James Cowser

107. Dolphins: DE Ronald Blair

108. Buccaneers: DT Willie Henry

109. Giants: RB Kelvin Taylor

110: Rams: CB Will Redmond

111: Lions: LB Deion Jones

Nick: Oh, man. That pick by the Lions hurts.

Joel: One pick away from the shortest discussion of the day, I’d think. A lot to like in terms of options here. If Bullard wasn’t on board already, I’d be very tempted to take Temple defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis, who flashed a lot in Senior Bowl practices. With what’s in the fold already, though, three names stand out: Colorado State wideout Rashard Higgins, Samford cornerback James Bradberry and Ohio State safety Tyvis Powell, and Powell’s my first instinct. Big enough to fill in at either safety spot at 6-3, Powell plays like a prototype single-high safety, and he’s got a penchant for clutch interceptions, including the game-sealing interception of Blake Sims in the Sugar Bowl two years ago. Plus, he’s got a big, easygoing personality, and the Saints have been looking for leadership types who know how to win. Powell fits that bill.

Nick: I have no issue with bringing in a safety and it seems like the Saints are intent on finding one. Seems like every other report about a visit or a private workout is about either a safety or a tight end. I do think finding another guy there is a big need. Even though Damian Swann and Kyle Wilson could provide depth at safety in a pinch, I don’t think you enter the season wanting those guys to be the top options behind Byrd. And, as you mentioned earlier, it would be a good idea for the Saints to start grooming another safety. It’s too soon to start thinking about the end for Byrd — he would still count as $8 million in dead money if cut next offseason — but it’s good to have options.

Joel: The way the board fell plays a role here. Not a lot of edge rusher types or cover linebackers left who’d fit at this spot in the scenario we’re looking at, and the Saints’ habit of finding wide receivers in unlikely places makes that position a spot where we can wait a bit. Powell’s the pick.

OFF THE BOARD

113: Titans: DE Bronson Kaufusi

114: Raiders: LB Kyler Fackrell

115: Falcons: G Parker Ehinger

116: Colts: G Vadal Alexander

117: Bills: LB Joe Schobert

118: Jets: CB D.J. White

119: Texans: TE Austin Hooper

120: Redskins: DT Adolphus Washington

121: Vikings: Matt Ioannidis

122: Bengals: DT Javon Hargrave

123: Steelers: WR Hunter Sharp

124: Seahawks: C Jack Allen

125: Packers: TE Tyler Higbee

126: Chiefs: Kansas City CB James Bradberry

127: Bears: RB Devontae Booker

128: Cardinals: DE Shawn Oakman

129: Panthers: WR Tajae Sharpe

130: Ravens: G Connor McGovern

131: Packers: OT Brandon Shell

132: Ravens: RB Jonathan Williams

133: 49ers: WR Aaron Burbridge

134: Ravens: CB Juston Burris

135: Cowboys: S Kevin Byard

136: Broncos: QB Cardale Jones

137: Packers: S K.J. Dillon

138: Browns: QB Brandon Allen

139: Bills: OT Kyle Murphy

140: Titans: WR Rashard Higgins

141: Browns: LB Scooby Wright III

142: 49ers: TE Devon Cajuste

143: Raiders: DE Victor Ochi

144: Broncos: WR Kenny Lawler

145: 49ers: RB Keith Marshall

146: Jaguars: C Evan Boehm

147: Dolphins: CB Cyrus Jones

148: Buccaneers: G Sebastian Tretola

149: Giants: WR DeMarcus Robinson

150: Bears: TE Jake McGee

151: Lions: RB C.J. Prosise

Nick: The board is starting to get tough here. Again, picking Goff in the first makes me feel like I can’t take a flier on someone like San Jose running back Tyler Ervin, who I really liked at the Senior Bowl. Bringing back Travaris Cadet and the presence of Marcus Murphy would make him a total luxury. While I haven’t seen a ton of him, Grand Valley State defensive end Matt Judon is someone who I find intriguing. I could also be talked into a wide receiver. There are plenty available. Baylor’s Jay Lee is 6-foot-2 and run a 4.5 40-yard dash. His size-speed profile is at least intriguing. He can get deep, which is something the Saints could use on offense to help take some pressure off of Brandin Cooks.

Joel: We’re also getting into the territory where you start remembering things you’d forgotten. For instance, I remembered that Arizona receiver Cayleb Jones was once one of the top wide receiver recruits in the country — sometimes that’s a sign of untapped potential — but I’d forgotten that he broke a Longhorns’ tennis player’s jaw at Texas, an event that led to his departure from Austin. Of the pass-rush types, Judon’s the most intriguing to me as well, in part because of his size. Virginia Tech’s Dadi Nicolas and Maryland’s Yannick Ngakoue are both still available, but they check in somewhere in the 240-250 range, and Judon weighed 275 at the Combine. That suggests he might be able to play both defensive end positions.

Nick: I really have no idea what to do here.

Joel: I’ll throw out another option. A couple of highly productive linebackers — Florida’s Antonio Morrison, Utah State’s Nick Vigil — who we saw at the Senior Bowl are available, as is Minnesota’s De’Vondre Campbell, who ran a 4.58 at the Combine.

Nick: I’m intrigued by Vigil. Have you seen his combine numbers? He smoked the field in the 3-cone drill and the 20-yard shuttle with times of 6.73 and 4 seconds, respectively. His three-cone time was faster than all running backs and wide receivers outside of Stanford’s Devon Cajuste, California’s Trevor Davis and Ohio State’s Braxton Miller. His 20-yard shuttle was faster than all wide receivers and running backs. I’d be good with taking an athlete here.

Joel: And that’s something you might not get with the wide receivers. As anybody who watched the combine knows, this isn’t the fastest class at the position. Vigil’s also got some production, now that I look him up. Might not be SEC competition, but 267 tackles and 30 tackles-for-loss over the last two years gets my attention.

Nick: Lock it in. Vigil is the pick.

OFF THE BOARD

153. Eagles: RB Tyler Ervin

154. Raiders: RB Peyton Barber

155. Colts: RB Kenyan Drake

156. Bills: CB Maurice Canady

157. Jets: WR Jalin Marshall

158. Redskins: WR Malcolm Mitchell

159. Texans: OLB Yannick Ngakoue

160. Vikings: WR Daniel Braverman

161. Bengals: WR Cayleb Jones

162. Chiefs: G Avery Young

163. Packers: G Domenick Jackson

164. Eagles: CB Daryl Worley

165. Chiefs: WR Nelson Spruce

166. Texans: WR Jay Lee

167. Cardinals: QB Cody Kessler

168. Panthers: S Justin Simmons

169. Lions: C Graham Glasgow

170. Cardinals: LB Antonio Morrison

171. Seahawks: DE Dadi Nicolas

172. Browns: K Roberto Aguayo

173. Browns: TE Thomas Duarte

174. 49ers: DE Matt Judon

175. Chargers: LB Beniquez Brown

176. Browns: TE Beau Sandland

177. Titans: S Jordan Lucas

178. 49ers: OT Spencer Drango

179. Chargers: WR Keyarris Garrett

180. Vikings: C Cole Toner

181. Jaguars: P Drew Kaser

182. Ravens: WR Chris Moore

183. Buccaneers: TE Ben Braunecker

184. Giants: QB Jacoby Brissett

185. Bears: OT Dominique Robertson

186. Dolphins: OT Alex Lewis

187. Redskins: LB Tyler Matakevich

188. Eagles: QB Kevin Hogan

189. Cowboys: QB Nate Sudfeld

190. Rams: OLB Terrance Smith

191. Lions: CB Tavon Young

192. Bills: LB De’Vondre Campbell

193. Titans: DT D.J. Reader

194. Raiders: QB Jeff Driskel

195. Texans: CB Anthony Brown

196. Patriots: CB Leshaun Sims

197. Buccaneers: C Max Tuerk

198. Chargers: OT John Theus

199, Bengals: DE Jason Fanaika

200. Packers: OLB Alex McAlister

201. Jaguars: S Kavon Frazier

202. Lions: RB Josh Ferguson

203. Chiefs: DT Anthony Zettel

204. Patriots: RB DeAndre Washington

205. Cardinals: C Isaac Seumalo

206. Bears: WR Paul McRoberts

207. 49ers: DT Dean Lowry

209. Patriots: S Jatavis Brown

209. Ravens: DE Ron Thompson

210. Lions: OT Tyler Marz

211.. 49ers: Ted Karras

212. Cowboys: LB B.J. Goodson

213. 49ers: CB Cleveland Wallace

214. Patriots: CB Jonathan Jones

215. Seahawks: DE Stephen Weatherly

216. Cowboys: WR Jaydon Mickens

217. Cowboys: G Chase Farris

218. Bills: WR De’Runnya Wilson

219. Broncos: DT Adam Gotsis

220. Steelers: WR Roger Lewis

221. Patriots: TE Kyle Carter

222. Titans: CB Michael Jordan

223. Browns: CB Morgan Burns

224. Chargers: K Ka’imi Fairbairn

225. Seahawks: S Elijah Shumate

226. Jaguars: WR Ricardo Louis

227. Dolphins: LB Blake Martinez

228. Broncos: LB Travis Feeney

229. Steelers: C Austin Blythe

230. Bears: QB Jake Coker

231. Dolphins: S Deon Bush

232. Redskins: TE Henry Krieger-Coble

233. Eagles: G Denver Kirkland

234. Raiders: TE Jerell Adams

235. Broncos: WR Michael Thomas

236. Lions: DE Romeo Okwara

Nick: My favorite part of seven-round mock drafts are when people act like they’re highly familiar with the players that are available this late. I can’t lie. I don’t know a ton about the players available in this range. But I am familiar with Oklahoma linebacker Eric Striker, who is still on the board. I think he could be someone who plays all over the field. I like his versatility. He’s my pick, but I’m open to other options.

Joel: Is this the part where I claim I know all these guys like the back of my hand? Because I can be that guy. In all actuality, though, if I didn’t cover a guy during my SEC beat days, I’m in the same boat. Let me ask you this: how much should need factor in at this point in the draft?

Nick: I think the odds of hitting on someone at a specific spot this late is probably a big gamble. I’d go with upside over need at this point. Pulling out a Brady or Colston is the sixth or seventh rounds, even if you don’t need them, is much better than plugging a gap at backup guard. Yeah, I know, extreme examples, but still.

Joel: Striker’s a guy I like, too, but frantic checking of NFL.com’s Combine profiles might have unearthed a possibility. UCLA wide receiver Jordan Payton, who clocked in a 4.47 40 at the Combine, is 6-1, and he was highly productive over his last two years for a Bruins team that was looking for a QB. NFL.com’s scouting report says Payton might not play to that speed, but he’s also a big-bodied guy who could be a complement in the seam.

Nick: He fits the profile of the kind of receiver I think the Saints need. I really want them to get someone with a big body — 6-3 would be better than 6-1 — but Payton’s close enough this late in the draft. There’s a definite need for depth here, so I like this pick. The options after Brandon Coleman are sketchy. And this team does well developing receivers, so he’s a good pick in the seventh.

Let’s wrap this up.

The one thing I learned here is that taking a pick for the future in the early rounds is a little bit limiting. If Goff were to slip, and the Saints have a strong belief in his future, I wouldn’t mind the pick. But it’s definitely not the best thing for this season. It would be ideal if they found another way to acquire additional picks if that scenario actually plays out. Having an extra pick in the first and third rounds last year made the selections of Peat and Garrett Grayson more absorbable.

Joel: If I were in the Saints chair, I’d want more picks. Even though guard and wide receiver represent clear needs, it still sort of feels like we didn’t get enough defense. Part of that is taking Goff, but you’d like to have enough wiggle room to take a player you really believe in, even if he’s not at a “need” position, and that doesn’t just go for the first round.

Whatever the limitations, this felt a lot more difficult than doing a normal mock.

Nick: It was a good exercise. It’s definitely more realistic than us selecting which players the other teams will pick. If that were the case, I would have probably been inclined to make sure Chris Jones and Deion Jones slipped to the Saints.

Joel: We do have one advantage over the Saints’ brass, though. At least we get a chance to do it over again next week.