Saturday, April 08, 2006

Saints Trade Will Impact Draft

Lost in the headlines this week was the trade the New Orleans Saints made with the Atlanta Falcons that will have a huge impact in the top half of the 2006 draft.

The Saints traded away starting left tackle Wayne Gandy to the Falcons for safety Bryan Scott and a future late-round draft pick. This trade gives us a pretty good indication of how the top 10 picks may pan out.

With Jammal Brown moving over to the left side after an impressive rookie campaign, that leaves Jon Stinchcomb the new starter on the right side, despite missing all of 2005 with a knee injury. Or does it?

Would Saints owner Tom Benson hand the reigns of the franchise to newly acquired quarterback Drew Brees, who is coming off an injury himself, and then have him protected by a lineman who has gimpy knees?

How do they know Brown will be able to handle the left side? He's a powerhouse run blocker, but needs work on his pass protection.

The obvious choice for New Orleans and their number two or four pick would be mammoth tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson, rated by some scouts as the best tackle prospect since Orlando Pace came out in 1997. A bookend of Brown, at his normal position on the right side, and Ferguson, manning the left, would have Deuce McAllister drooling and defensive coordinators crying.

The only thing that could possibly change that scenario is South Carolina defensive end Mario Williams. the 6-7, 295-pound monster is a potential game changer and the Saints will probably not decide until their time runs out on April 29th.

I believe New Orleans will go with Ferguson, even if the rumor of the Jets moving up to grab the Saints two spot holds true.

The top ten picks, according to yours truly, play out like this. Houston will take Reggie Bush, RB, USC; the Jets will give up one of their number ones, move up in the draft, and take Matt Linehart, QB, USC; the Titans will grab Vince Young, QB, Texas; the Saints will take Ferguson; and the Packers will scoop up Williams at number five.

The San Francisco 49ers will pick up A.J. Hawk at the sixth spot; the Oakland Raiders will take Vernon Davis, TE, Maryland; the Buffalo Bills will snap up Broderick Bunkley, DT, Florida State; the Lions will take Michael Huff, DB, Texas and the Cardinals will plan for the future by picking Vanderbilt QB Jay Cutler at number ten.

It should make for a very interesting top ten come draft day.

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