Kevin Skiver of Canal Street Chronicles has already made two picks for the New Orleans Saints in our 2015 NFL mock draft, and he's back to make a third right now. After focusing on the defense in the first round, adding Florida pass rusher Dante Fowler Jr. and Miami linebacker Denzel Perryman, Skiver's focus now shifts back to the offensive side of the football, and specifically the offensive line.
44. Saints: Arie Kouandjio, OG, Alabama
Skiver: With the trade of Ben Grubbs to the Chiefs, the Saints shed what was a pretty horrible contract given his production relative to their cap. Kouandjio ran a zone-blocking scheme at Alabama that will translate well to the Saints’ running game, and Kouandjio was a standout player on Alabama’s excellent run blocking line. Since guards are falling in this draft due to the premium tackle position, Kouandjio can fill a big need for the Saints at a small price. He will also create competition for bubble players like Tim Lelito. Kouandjio’s pass blocking improved over the course of the 2013 season, and in 2014 he was named an All-American guard. Kouandjio does have his share of work to do, and his lingering knee injury can be an area of concern, but, all in all, Kouandjio could be an effective addition to a Saints’ offensive line that has sustained recent losses.
Dan Kadar, SBNation.com: The Saints’ offensive line seems to be at its best when the interior blocking is at a high level. Because of that, it stands to reason that one of New Orleans’ first three picks in the draft should be at guard. With that in mind, the dispute about this pick isn’t the position. Instead, it’s the player. At guard, we’ve only seen South Carolina’s A.J. Cann get taken in this mock draft. There are a few guards between he and Kouandjio. Someone like Duke’s Laken Tomlinson or Hobart’s Ali Marpet would be just as good of a fit in New Orleans, and for me, they rate higher.
Dan's Top 5 players remaining
- 30. Paul Dawson, LB, TCU
- 32. P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State
- 33. Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
- 39. Benardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State
- 41. Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M
- 1-13: Dante Fowler, DE, Florida
- 1-31: Denzel Perryman, LB, Miami (FL)
- 2-44: Arie Kouandjio, OG, Alabama