We are about a week from the 2018 NFL draft and if you are a football fan this is like Christmas. There are endless possibilities for the right player on the right team. You have scouted a few hundred players and know exactly who your beloved Saints should pick. Yea, that’s not this works is it? However it shakes out one thing is true the SEC gets more players drafted than any other conference. The SEC has been the leader in draft picks 11 straight years. Seven consecutive years 50 plus SEC players were drafted and, according to my calculations ,183 straight rounds have included an SEC player. That is an impressive feat of consistency, so let’s get to it.
Round 1 Pick 27
Hayden Hurst – South Carolina, TE
Probably the best all around tight end in the draft he can do it all. Will be a 25 year old rookie but that should not dissuade a smart team. Good speed and a very good inline blocker. A leader with humility knows how pro sports operate.
Round 3 Pick 27 Overall 91
Duke Dawson – Florida, CB
A fierce competitor who is good in man or zone. Has good ball skills and not afraid to come up and tackle in run support. May not be the best fit for the Saints at this juncture but can you ever have too many corners? I think not.
Round 4 Overall 127
Jeff Holland – Auburn. Edge
He isn’t the perfect size at only 6’2″ 250 but that didn’t stop him from being a seriously disruptive force for Auburn in 2017. In the 8 regular season SEC games last year he had 7.5 sacks including 2 against a good LSU line. That type of production, even if only one year, is worth taking a chance on.
Round 5 Pick 10 Overall 147
Will Clapp – LSU, C/G
Played both guard spots and center at a very high level. LSU team captain who lead the way for Fournette and Guice in his career. A better run blocker at this point but is highly intelligent will learn to improve pass protection. Has worked with Kevin Mawae recently, an LSU and NFL great, to refine technique. Big and tough can be a solid starter in his hometown of New Orleans very early on.
Round 5 Pick 27 Overall 164
Trey Quinn – SMU, WR
Okay, so I kind of cheated here but he was at LSU first which technically qualifies him . Can play outside and in the slot, but better in the slot. Caught a staggering 114 balls for the Mustangs in 2017. Good hands, efficient route runner and has good size. Has potential to be a Julian Edelman type player. Wants the ball in crunch time.
Round 6 Pick 15 Overall 189
Shaun Dion Hamilton – Alabama, LB
Very smart, instinctive football player almost always where he should be. A team captain of Alabama in 2017, coaching staff raves about work ethic. A very productive player but can’t seem to avoid injuries. Still, with the talent he is worth a late round flyer.
Round 6 Pick 27 Overall 201
Kahlil McKenzie – Tennessee, DT
This one is mostly a pick of potential and bloodlines. Kahlil’s father Reggie played college and NFL and is currently the Oakland Raiders GM. Shows flashes but inconsistent as many did Butch Jones and the “life champions”. With proper coaching can be a solid rotational contributor.
Round 7 Pick 27 Overall 245
Jordan Wilkins – Ole Miss, RB
A very good three down back at Oxford who averaged 6.5 a carry in 2017.He missed entire 2016 season due to an academic situation that wasn’t entirely his fault. Missing that year may be advantageous to him because he took less punishment. He ran for over a hundred versus Alabama, that alone is worth a draft pick.
The Saints war room has orchestrated two consecutive excellent draft classes. The 2017 was the best ever for the franchise, a grand slam of talented players. This draft they only need a couple of singles to put the team over the top and contend for a Super Bowl. They would be wise to take a look at some of the players in my SEC mock draft. These players practice and play against the best in the country and the NFL draft is filled these guys year in year out.