Paying homage to the late legendary rapper Earl Simmons, aka DMX, the Ruff Ryders Anthem should parallel the New Orleans Saints draft philosophy for 2021.
Stop, Drop, Shut 'Em Down, Open Open up Shop. In actuality, the Saints drop who they want. Period.
There has been little indication from the New Orleans Saints front office on who they will select in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Nonetheless, but from Pro Day visits and interviews, there's a slight hat-tip to certain positions of interest.
Cornerback and Linebacker.
The Saints tend to build from the inside out. Choosing an offensive or defensive lineman is not out of the question for the team. The one caveat is the fact New Orleans has glaring needs at cornerback and linebacker.
The question stands - would it be prudent to watch talent at those positions come off the board early without making a pick of their own? Let's stop and evaluate.
New Orleans coaches and scouts have stopped to visit and conduct virtual interviews with the following players. Data compiled by Walter Cherepinsky of Walter Football:
- Joshuah Bledsoe, Safety, Missouri (VIR)
- K.J. Britt, Linebacker, Auburn (VIR)
- Zaven Collins, Outside Linebacker, Tulsa (VIR)
- Chauncey Golston, Defensive End, Iowa (VIR)
- Thomas Graham, Jr., Cornerback, Oregon (VIR)
- Darren Hall, Safety, San Diego State (VIR)
- Teven Jenkins, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma State (VIR)
- Quinn Meinerz, Offensive Guard, Wisconsin-Whitewater (VIR)
- Rondale Moore, Wide Receiver, Purdue (VIR)
- Greg Newsome II, Cornerback, Northwestern (VIR)
- Adetokunbo Ogundeji, 3-4 Outside Linebacker, Notre Dame (VIR)
- Levi Onwuzurike, Defensive Tackle, Washington (VIR)
- Peyton Ramsey, Quarterback, Northwestern (VIR)
- Asante Samuel, Jr., Cornerback, Florida State (VIR)
- Anthony Schwartz, Wide Receiver, Auburn (VIR)
- Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Wide Receiver, Iowa (VIR)
- Ambry Thomas, Cornerback, Michigan (VIR)
- Tommy Tremble, TE, Notre Dame (VIR)
- Pooka Williams, Jr., Running Back, Kansas (VIR)
- Trill Williams, Cornerback, Syracuse (VIR)
Also, Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis attended Alabama's second Pro Day Greg Ireland, and the team's scouts visited TCU and Tulsa Pro Days. Ireland briefly chatted with linebacker Zaven Collins.
Who does New Orleans like at No. 28, or will they make a move?
SHUT 'EM DOWN
Let's shut down the rumors, speculation, and innuendos. They need a "Shut 'Em Down" player at either cornerback or linebacker. New Orleans should highly covet a corner in this year's draft. Several names associated with the team make sense. Lattimore has pending legal issues and could face disciplinary action from the NFL. All of this could affect his availability early in the upcoming season.
At the moment, New Orleans' brass has not signaled movement on a contract extension for the 2017 DROY. After the team released CB Janoris Jenkins, he signed with the Titans. The result left the Saints with Patrick Robinson and PJ Williams as veteran cornerbacks on the roster. At this point Williams and Robinson are backup players and not full-time starters.
New Orleans should seek a player with the shut-down qualities like a Marshon Lattimore. The talent they will face in 2021, coupled with the speed, height, and length of NFC South receivers, the Saints could be favorable to Newsome and Farley.
Players to watch at No. 28: Greg Newsome, Asante Samuel, Jr., Caleb Farley
How about a speedy and shut-down linebacker to be in tandem with Demario Davis and Zach Baun. The possibility of Kwon Alexander returning to the Saints is still in the works (watch his training session with Dr. Reef). As the running backs, tight ends, and wide receivers get faster and more shifty in the NFL, New Orleans has to consider defensive players who have the ability to counter the opposition's offensive skill players.
Players to watch at No. 28: Zaven Collins, Jamin Davis, Jabril Cox, Dylan Moses, Adetokunbo Ogundeji.
OPEN UP SHOP
Mickey Loomis has mentioned before he is open, willing, and ready to shop before and during the draft. Wheeling and dealing is nothing new to the New Orleans Saints on draft day. Unless they genuinely covet a player higher on the board and can relinquish the draft capital, the Saints likely will stay at No. 28.
The odds are against a significant leap higher than No. 20. If you study the draft board, most of the teams at 20 and above will have a high value and need to maintain their position in the first-round. In addition, New Orleans may have to surrender a 2021's second-round selection and next year's first-round pick to climb in a prime position for selecting either cornerbacks Jaycee Horn or Patrick Surtain II.
There's a value at #28 for the Saints. If New Orleans decides to trade back and pick up an additional second-rounder, they could be fortunate enough capturing a first-round talent who may have slipped for various reasons.
Draft spots 33 to 43 are a prime area to get either a quality cornerback or linebacker. Then they will have options at 60 - offensive lineman could be a consideration. Also, the extra draft capital acquired could help in 2021 or 2022.
Finding a trading partner or two is the key. Most are crafty and their ulterior motives must not conflict with your own. But that's life in the NFL.
A general manager like Mickey Loomis is bold enough to make the moves New Orleans requires. The NFL rewards boldness - sometimes you have to shut it down, move and open at a new spot in the draft to succeed drafting players for your organization. Can and will the Saints be in position to do so on April 29?
We shall see.