The New Orleans Saints got their 2014 NFL draft haul off to a rousing start, moving up 7 spots to grab Oregon State wideout Brandin Cooks in the first round. The Saints now shift their focus to day 2 and the second round, where a laundry list of talented prospects remain available. Selecting Cooks met a specific need and desire the Saints had to add talent to their receiving corps. With the 2nd round on tap tonight, the team's attention will likely remain focused on addressing similar needs at the top of their list. Here are some players we believe the team could have its eye on tonight with the 58th overall pick in round 2:
Kyle Van Noy - LB- BYU
The 6-3 243 'backer could still be available when the Saints pick near the end of round 2. Saints GM Mickey Loomis has a history of being aggressive and bullish on draft day, as was the case last night when the team moved up to select Cooks, but if they stay put, Van Noy could be the selection here. Van Noy would fit in Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's scheme as an outside linebacker, capable of providing pressure off the edge while providing strong run support between the gaps. The Saints were said to be high on Ohio State's Ryan Shazier, who was chosen by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 15th overall pick, but Van Noy could emerge as an alternate option as the team looks to bolster its linebacking corps. Van Noy's athleticism and instincts should help ease his transition to the pro game. Kyle Van Noy
Marcus Martin - C- USC
As we mentioned over a month ago, the Saints love Martin, the 6'3 320 former Trojan who is widely considered this draft's best Center prospect. The Saints have a need at the position, having lost last year's starter Brian de la Puente to the Chicago Bears in free agency. Though the team likes the potential of 2nd year pro Tim Lelito, and has considered re-signing former starter and Super Bowl winner Jonathan Goodwin, Martin could be the long term answer at the position. His selection would only further strengthen the middle of the Saints' offensive line, and would see him sandwiched in between two Pro Bowl guards in Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs. There is a chance that Martin could be off the board by pick 58, but if he is still available, this is a player that would warrant serious consideration. While taking a Center so early in the draft may be construed as a reach of sorts, Martin is talented enough to justify using a 2nd rounder on, and his plus size would be a bonus as New Orleans looks to beef up its overall rushing attack in 2014.
Pierre Desir - CB- Lindenwood
Seeking to become the first ever Lindenwood prospect to be drafted, Desir is another player the Saints like who could very well still be on the board at pick 58. With great size at 6-1 198, Desir possesses good speed and athleticism, and uses his size to his advantage in coverage. In an era where teams are looking for plus-sized corners, Desir fits the mold, and cuts the figure of a special prospect. Though he comes from a small school, Desir shined his skills at the Senior Bowl against some of the nation's best talent. Though many project him as a fit in zone and cover 2 schemes, Desir has the skills to excel in a press-man scheme as well. He can use his size to jam receivers at the line, and when on an island, has a knack for locating the ball and making the play. Like most young DBs, Desir just needs a little refining and coaching-up, which he will get in earnest as a professional. The Saints are likely to target a corner at some point, and Desir could be their man.
Xavier Su'a-Filo - G - UCLA
Though on the surface, Guard may not be the team's biggest need, Su'a-Filo could present a tempting option if available at 58. Coming off Pro Bowl years, both Grubbs and Evans command high salaries. Evans has been a key cog on the team's offensive line for several years now, but Grubbs could find himself as a future cap-casualty if the Saints find themselves in a situation where they need to shed salary next offseason. If this were to be the case, Su'a-Filo could be groomed as a potential replacement and long-term option on the interior to replace a player like Grubbs. The former Bruin is exceptionally strong and versatile, having played multiple positions across the offensive line during his UCLA career. Excelling as a run blocker, he could fit the team's want for another young offensive lineman for the future. Xavier Su'a-Filo
Keith McGill - CB- Utah
As stated above, Cornerback will be a high priority for New Orleans in this draft. Though the Saints brought in 12 time Pro Bowler Champ Bailey this spring, the team would love to land a player who could emerge as a future long-term complement to Keenan Lewis at the corner position. At 6-3 211, McGill has enormous size and excels in press coverage, which would make him an ideal fit for Ryan's aggressive defense. While developing behind the likes of Lewis and Bailey, McGill could learn the ropes in sub-packages, such as the team's vaunted 4-2-5 alignment, which would allow him to play a deeper Safety-like role. McGill has rare size and is blessed with explosive athleticism, giving him all the necessary traits to develop into a solid corner in the modern-day game. Projected to go between the 2nd and 3rd rounds, he could definitely be an option at 58.
Other names to watch
Weston Richburg - C- Colorado St.
Stanley Jean-Baptiste- CB- Nebraska
Phillip Gaines- CB- Rice
Stephon Tuitt- DE- Notre Dame
Demarcus Lawrence- LB- Boise St.
The New Orleans Saints will be poised to make a good selection at 58th overall tonight. Whether Mickey Loomis, Sean Payton and company have another move up their sleeves remains to be seen, but the stage is set for the team to add yet another building block to its arsenal on day 2 of the NFL Draft.