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2015 NFL mock draft: Denzel Perryman to New Orleans Saints at No. 31

Using the Round 1 pick acquired from Seattle for Jimmy Graham, our Saints blogger is once again mock-drafting a defender to help New Orleans out.

Earlier in the first round of our 2015 NFL mock draft, where each pick is submitted by the SB Nation site manager that covers the team making the selection, the New Orleans Saints (represented by Kevin Skiver of Canal Street Chronicles) added Florida edge rusher Dante Fowler to their roster.

Skiver is back to make another selection for the Saints, using the No. 31 overall pick that New Orleans acquired from the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for tight end Jimmy Graham. With the pick, Skiver is focusing once again on helping to patch up the Saints' defense.

31. Saints: Denzel Perryman, LB, Miami (FL)

Skiver: With this pick, I wrestled with the age old struggle of technique versus potential. Shoring up the linebacking crew was my primary objective, and adding both Fowler and Perryman would be a dream scenario for me. Eric Kendricks of UCLA is, if nothing else, more athletic than Perryman, but Perryman’s fluidity in the Miami defense was a huge selling point. He flows well in pursuit, stays in his gaps, and, above all, can legitimately cover. David Hawthorne took a pay cut, but that doesn’t change the fact that he was a liability on the Saints' defense last season. The other thing that Perryman has is closing speed, something that New Orleans linebackers haven’t shown in some time. Curtis Lofton flowed to the ball well and was excellent in run pursuit, but he struggled in the passing game. Perryman could be an invaluable addition to a linebacking corps that has struggled in the middle of the field during recent years. His instincts and physicality make him a safe pick at No. 31, and sometimes a safe pick feels like the right one.

Dan Kadar, This type of selection comes down to personal choice. Personally, I prefer Kendricks, while some may like Perryman or even TCU’s Paul Dawson. Teams are going to be the same way, and we actually saw it in the draft last year at the same position. Some liked Ryan Shazier, others liked C.J. Mosley. Shazier went first, and Mosley had a better season. For the Saints, either Perryman or Kendricks would fit. Both have 3-4 experience and good skill sets. It’s hard to fault the position selection for New Orleans. The debate should be about which player is better.

Dan's Top 5 players remaining

  • 17. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma
  • 19. Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA
  • 28. Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
  • 29. Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota
  • 30. Paul Dawson, LB, TCU

All picks from this mock draft

Saints picks

  • 1-13: Dante Fowler, OLB, Florida
  • 1-31: Denzel Perryman, LB, Miami (FL)
  • 2-44: (coming April 10)

We have one more pick to announce in the first round of the 2015 SB Nation NFL Writers' Mock Draft. It comes your way at Noon ET, made by Pats Pulpit for the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

SB Nation presents: Where Denzel Perryman ranks among inside linebackers