Saints 2021 Draft: Best Available Day Three Defensive Prospects

Who are some sleepers on the defensive side of the ball as New Orleans heads into Day 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft?
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The 2021 NFL Draft concludes this afternoon. This is Day 3 of the event, which will include rounds 4, 5, 6, and 7. The New Orleans Saints have made three picks over the first two days. They chose Houston defensive end Payton Turner with the 28th pick of the 1st round on Thursday. Yesterday, they used a 2nd round choice (60th overall) on Ohio State linebacker Pete Werner. They then swung a deal with the Denver Broncos to move up in the 3rd round, using the 76th overall choice on Stanford cornerback Paulson Adebo.

The Saints are scheduled to have four selections in today’s event:

  1. 4th Round (133rd overall)
  2. 6th Round (218th overall)
  3. 7th Round (229th overall)
  4. 7th Round (255th overall)

New Orleans has stayed on the defensive side with their first three selections. I expect the Saints to add some offensive help in today's action, at both the skill positions and along the offensive line. If they continue to look at the defense, here are some of the best available prospects remaining.

DEFENSIVE END/EDGE

Charlotte 49ers receiver Micaleous Elder (23) runs with the ball while Duke Blue Devils defensive end Chris Rumph II (96) chases. Mandatory Credit: Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY

Charlotte 49ers receiver Micaleous Elder (23) runs with the ball while Duke Blue Devils defensive end Chris Rumph II (96) chases. Mandatory Credit: Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY

CHRIS RUMPH II (DUKE)

An explosive athlete with terrific pass rushing ability. Rumph doesn't have the coverage skills for a conversion to linebacker and must add bulk to hold up against the run as a defensive end.

QUINCY ROCHE (MIAMI, FL)

Roche was a productive edge rusher for the Hurricanes. He lacks the athleticism to move to linebacker and must prove he can be strong enough to handle duties as an end.

CAMERON SAMPLE, TULANE

Sample has good size and upper body strength, playing multiple spots along the line in college. He’ll be a defensive end in the NFL, but must show a wider array of pass rush moves to stick on a roster.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez (2) throws under pressure from Purdue Boilermakers defensive tackle Lorenzo Neal (9). Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez (2) throws under pressure from Purdue Boilermakers defensive tackle Lorenzo Neal (9). Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

TOMMY TOGIAI (OHIO STATE)

Has tremendous strength at the point of attack. Togiai doesn't add much as a pass rusher, but does an excellent job at tying up blockers inside and getting push up the field.

TYLER SHELVIN (LSU)

Shelvin is a mammoth inside presence who plays with excellent leverage and requires double-team blocking. He doesn't have much range, but would be an excellent replacement for departed DT Malcom Brown as a run defender.

LORENZO NEAL JR. (PURDUE)

Another huge inside defender, Neal has an explosive burst at the snap and provides good push into the backfield. Missed 2019 with a knee injury and played in just five games last year.

Other names to watch: Darius Stills (West Virginia), Jaylen Twyman (Pitt), Jay Tufele (USC), Marvin Jones (Florida State), Bobby Brown (Texas A&M)

LINEBACKER

Auburn Tigers receiver Eli Stove (12) is tackled by LSU Tigers linebacker Jabril Cox (21). Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn Tigers receiver Eli Stove (12) is tackled by LSU Tigers linebacker Jabril Cox (21). Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

JABRIL COX (LSU)

A projected second round pick in most circles who dropped because of weight concerns. Cox is a terrific athlete with standout coverage skills. He must add bulk to stand up against the run in every down linebacker responsibilities.

DYLAN MOSES (ALABAMA)

Another expected Day 2 pick, Moses slid because of some inconsistencies last season while recovering from an ACL injury. He has excellent agility, along with solid range, but must play with a more aggressive edge to his game.

DERRICK BARNES (PURDUE)

A throwback player with prototypical size for a linebacker. Barnes is physical and productive against the run. He struggles in space with average athleticism that limits him in coverage.

TONY FIELDS II (WEST VIRGINIA)

An undersized linebacker with elite instincts, especially against the run. Fields must get stronger for action close to the line of scrimmage and improve his range in coverage.

GARRET WALLOW (TCU)

A New Orleans native, Wallow has outstanding quickness and excellent football IQ. He was a productive inside linebacker, but has just average coverage skills and must add bulk as a run defender.

CORNERBACK

LSU Tigers cornerback Kary Vincent Jr. (5) intercepts a pass intended for Oklahoma receiver Nick Basquine (83) during the 2019 college football playoff semifinal. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY

LSU Tigers cornerback Kary Vincent Jr. (5) intercepts a pass intended for Oklahoma receiver Nick Basquine (83) during the 2019 college football playoff semifinal. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY

KARY VINCENT JR. (LSU)

Vincent has sprinters speed and excellent ball skills. He has the athleticism to match any receiver, but coverage technique and recognition are both extremely raw.

TAY GOWAN (UCF)

Gowan has nice height and terrific ball skills. His average quickness could cause problems in slot coverage and must add strength to hold up against bigger wideouts.

ROBERT ROCHELLE (CENTRAL ARKANSAS)

The native of Shreveport, LA has good height and elite speed. He’s most comfortable as a press corner, but has the range and explosive closing burst to excel in off-ball coverage.

MARK GILBERT (DUKE)

Gilbert has the prototypical height, very good speed, excellent instincts, and elite ball tracking skills for the position. After intercepting 6 passes and breaking up 15 others in 2017, he’s played in just four games over the last three years because of serious hip and foot injuries.

Other names to watch: Shaun Wade (Ohio State), Deommodre Lenoir (Oregon), Rodarius Williams (Oklahoma St.), Marco Wilson (Florida), Camryn Bynum (Cal)

SAFETY

Syracuse Orange defensive back Trill Williams (6) against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse Orange defensive back Trill Williams (6) against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

TRILL WILLIAMS (SYRACUSE)

Williams has the versatility to play either safety or nickel corner. He’ll struggle in man coverage against shifty receivers, but plays with good anticipation and has a nice closing burst to the football.

JAMAR JOHNSON (INDIANA)

Johnson has outstanding range and anticipation as a deep safety. Also has the ability to take on bigger receivers in man coverage and has the size for run support, but must improve his pursuit angles as a tackler.

DAMAR HAMLIN (PITT)

The less heralded of a terrific pair of safeties for the Panthers, Hamlin's game might better translate to the NFL. He doesn't have the athleticism for man coverage, but shows excellent recognition and adequate range as a deep safety.

Other names to watch: Ar'darius Washington (TCU), Paris Ford (Pitt), Jamien Sherwood (Auburn), Tyree Gillespie (Missouri)