The New Orleans Saints will have many needs on defense for the upcoming 2016 draft. It is a toss up between outside linebacker and defensive tackle as far as important positions for the Saints to add a key player(s) in this draft.
The Saints defense allowed 2,076 yards on the ground only behind the Philadelphia Eagles as the league’s worse in that category. The Saints did, however, have the highest rushing yard average at 4.9, which was the worst in the NFL in 2015. These are never good stats for a defense to have. This perhaps was a cause for the Saints secondary to be exploited game in and game out. Teams ran the ball at will against the Saints and once the safeties and linebackers would cheat closer to the line to stop the run, the offense would have great matchups with the secondary and beat them with the pass over the top.
With that in mind, here are some defensive tackles the Saints should have their eyes on for the upcoming draft:
A’Shawn Robinson, DT Alabama
A’Shawn Robinson is arguably the best defensive tackle in this class. He really picked up his game midseason and really shined in the heated rivalry with LSU against star running back Leonard Fournette. He continually stuffed the run and showed an impressive motor of power and speed. When SEC play came down to it, Robinson really showed he can be a force in the trenches. Another characteristic he has is his versatility, which is an attribute that really bolsters players’ draft stocks coming into the draft. The versatility to be nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme or any position on the line in a 4-3 scheme shows he can play anywhere on that line. He is the no-brainer pick if he falls to the Saints.
Robert Nkemdiche, DT/DE Ole Miss
A star recruit coming out of high school, Nkemdiche played well for the Rebels and in 2015 had 29 tackles, seven for loss, along with three sacks. He star moment of the year was playing against Alabama in which the reigning national champs loss the game 43-37. He had
a sack with six tackles and 1.5 of them were for a loss. He later missed part of the Memphis game with a concussion and missed the following game. Before Ole Miss’ bowl game, Nkemdiche fell four stories from his hotel room and was after arrested for the discovery of marijuana was in his room. He was suspended for the bowl game and NFL teams will be interested to find out if he can clean up his act.
Kenny Clark, DT UCLA
Clark had a very impressive 2015 season with 75 tackles, 11 for loss, six sacks and five passes batted. He is someone who can surely stuff the run and decent in rushing the pass. He has the potential to develop into a solid two-down defensive tackle. A big guy that could fall any from rounds one and two in the draft. I think Clark could be a potential sleeper in those rounds and would be a good pick for the Saints.