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Jordan Fiegel

"WWL First News" Producer & Sports Writer
Weekdays 6am-10am

Twitter: @jgfiegel
Email: jordan@wwl.com

Jordan: Plenty of good options for Saints in round 2

The Saints drafted defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins (Louisville) with the 12th overall pick. Rankins played all over for the Cardinals, lining up inside and outside on the line. He's a dual-threat, able to stop the run and pressure the quarterback. The Saints still have a lot of needs, though, heading into Day 2. Here's a look at some of the options left on the table.

Defensive linemen falling: Beyond the first 8-10 picks, there was a lot of variation on teams' boards, and many players projected to go in the 1st round are still available. The Saints took a defensive tackle in the 1st, but they could absolutely double dip at the position. Guys like Andrew Billings (Baylor), Jarran Reed (Alabama), and A'Shawn Robinson (Alabama) are elite run stuffers. Chris Jones (Mississippi State) is another major talent; and, like Rankins, he can stop the run and rush the passer.

Pass-rushers: Sheldon Rankins will provide some pressure from the interior, but the Saints still need to add a pass-rusher on the edge. Boy, could they have options. Potential 1st rounders like Kevin Dodd (Clemson), Noah Spence (Eastern Kentucky) and Emmanuel Ogbah (Oklahoma State) are still on the board. Other edge players include Shilique Calhoun (Michigan State) and Carl Nassib (Penn State). In my last mock draft, I had the Black and Gold drafting Nassib in the 2nd; and I think he's still an option.

Guards galore: Arguably the biggest hole left on the Saints squad is at guard. With Jahri Evans gone and a revolving door at the other spot last season, adding another guy on the interior is vital. Two guards went in the 1st round, but there are still a couple options. Cody Whitehair (Kansas State), Landon Turner (North Carolina), and Christian Westerman (Arizona State) are a few names to keep an eye on.

Guys keep on slipping: ...into the future rounds. Plenty of other potential first rounders that could be on the Saints radar fell out of Day One. Cornerback Mackensie Alexander (Clemson) was sometimes considered the second-best CB, and he had met with the team during the draft process. Michael Thomas, a wide receiver out of Ohio State, will likely be gone come the Saints pick; but if he's not, he'll be considered.

Other possibilities: In addition to the previous players listed, here are some prospects to watch. Cornerback Kendall Fuller of Virginia Tech (the little brother of current Bears CB Kyle Fuller) likely would've been a 1st rounder if not for tearing his meniscus early in 2015. Defensive end Jonathan Bullard (Florida) isn't a huge pass-rushing threat, but he brings some to the table in that area and can shut down the run. Su'a Cravens is an outside linebacker from USC that can also play strong safety. The Saints added some OLBs in free agency, but Cravens is a talent. Deion Jones from LSU is another outside linebacker the Saints could look at.
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