NFL Draft: Saints ready to use picks in hand, make and take offers

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JJ Arcega Whiteside
JJ Arcega-Whiteside, wide receiver out of Stanford, is big and rangy pass target.

The NFL Draft is a fluid process, one with so many twists and turns that it resembles a soft pretzel.

Will the New Orleans Saints dip the pretzel into the melted cheese or spicy dip?

With no choice set to be made this evening, can Mickey Loomis, Jeff Ireland and Sean Payton find a way to manipulate getting back into the first round? Will they stay with the pick late in the second round? Is there any chance of trading down, something that has not been done in this regime?

We all know the history of the draft under Loomis and Payton.

The Saints have traded up four times for specific players, including Mark Ingram (2011), Brandin Cooks (2014), Alvin Kamara (2017) and Marcus Davenport (2018).

With a solid roster, it will be tough for more than one scheduled draft choice of the Saints in 2019 to make the team, considering they have picks in the second, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds, including two each in the sixth and seventh rounds.

To put it in perspective, the Saints are scheduled to pick at No. 62, No. 168, No. 177, No. 202, No. 231 and No. 244 overall.

Most certainly, the 62nd overall pick is a guy that will stick but will most certainly have a difficult time cracking the starting lineup to start the season. Such is the case with one of the elite teams in the NFL, which the Saints have been for the past two years and remain, at this juncture.

Last year, the team chose Patrick Leonard in the fourth round, Natrell Jamerson in the fifth round, Kamrin Moore in the sixth round and Boston Scott along with Will Clapp in the seventh round. Only Clapp remains.

On the other hand, this regime has landed Carl Nicks and Thomas Morstead in the fifth round and came up with gems in Marques Colston and Zach Strief in the seventh round. Kenny Stills was a pretty good player as a fifth-round selection and Rob Ninkovich turned out to be a good NFL player as a fifth-round choice, though not with the Saints.

For the sake of consideration and discussion, here are ten names who could be available at No. 62 and are players to watch, if New Orleans remains in that slot:

Tight end Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M (6-4, 251) — The son of a pair of former very good college athletes, Sternberger was a consensus All-American for the Aggies last year, catching 48 passes for 832 yards and 10 touchdowns. He runs good routes and has a good catch radius. He is clearly a receiving tight end, not a blocker.

Wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Stanford (6-2, 225) — Arcega-Whiteside fits the Sean Payton bill of being big. He can be a real weapon in the red zone. He is athletic for his size and caught 28 touchdown passes for the Cardinal. He is big and strong and a hard worker, by all accounts.

Wide receiver Parris Campbell, Ohio State (6-0, 205) — We all know how much the Saints love Ohio State players and Campbell is a good one. He is an outstanding athlete who caught 12 touchdown passes for the Buckeyes last year and could be a weapon running the ball, when needed. He has elite speed and is a solid blocker.

Wide receiver Terry McLaurin, Ohio State (6-0, 208) — McLaurin is another Ohio state player with speed and solid size. His numbers with the Buckeyes were modest but he is talented and had a really good Senior Bowl week. He can be an asset on special teams. His stock is rising.

Wide receiver Emanuel Hall, Missouri (6-2, 201) — Hall is the classic burner, the true deep threat who could be the heir apparent to Ted Ginn, Jr. in that role. He has run a sub 4.4 time in the 40-yard dash and has a 43.5 inch vertical jump. His stock is rising and he could be a steal with his size and speed.

Wide receiver Deebo Samuel, South Carolina (5-11, 214) — Samuel is a tough guy and competitive. He will fight you for position and for the ball. He may fit the bill as an inside receiver complement to Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn Jr.

Tackle Dalton Risner, Kansas State (6-5, 312) — Risner is versatile. He started at center as a freshman for K-State before moving to right tackle, where he was outstanding. He had shoulder surgery at the end of the 2017 season but showed no ill effects in 2018. He is strong, wide, big.

Center Elgton Jenkins, Mississippi State (6-4, 310) — Jenkins played tackle, guard and center for the Bulldogs and he excelled at center a year ago. His versatility could be what the Saints are looking for in their quest for offensive line depth.

Defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones, Ohio State (6-3, 281) — Jones is another Ohio State player and the Saints could use another defensive tackle. Jones goes only 280-285 but it is his quickness which is his biggest asset. He played basketball in high school. Jones can be disruptive, hitting gaps with his quickness.

Defensive end Chase Winovich, Michigan (6-3, 256) — Winowich has the ability to rush the passer and he plays with tremendous emotion and determination. He could be a specialist, rather than an every down player. Coaches love his effort.

No one really knows what the final verdict will be. That will be determined as the first-round process, even the second-round process unfolds.

The New Orleans Saints are ready for the draft, ready for offers and even ready to pick as scheduled on day two.

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Ken Trahan

Ken Trahan

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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE Owner and CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Football Foundation, College…

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