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2016 NFL mock draft: DT A'Shawn Robinson to the New Orleans Saints

It's obvious the Saints need to upgrade the defensive tackle, and that's what they do in the first round of the SB Nation NFL writers mock draft.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

This offseason, the New Orleans Saints have begun reshaping an absolutely disastrous defense. Gone is defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, replaced by former Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen. With that change has come a switch back to the 4-3 defense. The Saints have brought in linebackers like James Laurinaitis and Craig Robertson to go along with promising youngsters like Hau'oli Kikaha and Stephone Anthony.

But up front, the Saints need skilled players at both end and tackle. That's the direction Dave Cariello of Canal Street Chronicles is going with the 12th overall pick in our mock draft:

12. Saints: A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama

Cariello: It’s no secret that the Saints need help at just about every position on the defensive side of the ball, and they need the most help rushing the passer. Check any mock draft made by anyone this year and you’re all but guaranteed that they’ve got a defensive linemen heading to New Orleans. Fortunately, this year’s draft class if chock full of pass rush talent, both interior and on the edge.

With Joey Bosa, Noah Spence and DeForest Buckner -- the three D-linemen who make up what I would consider to be the top tier -- already off the board, the Saints now have to choose from the second-tier linemen: Shaq Lawson, Sheldon Rankins, Emmanuel Ogbah and A’Shawn Robinson. Lawson is an enticing option here, but Robinson may be the best DT available in the draft. He’s got an excellent skill set combining athleticism and power but the knock on the Alabama product is his consistency and that he plays too upright. This has led many to question his ability to transition to the next level. Off the field Robinson has no red flags or character issues, something the Saints have recently made a point to avoid in their locker room.

Analysis: Even with the signing of Nick Fairley, who was brought in on a one-year deal, this is a smart play. Robinson is a disruptive defensive lineman who is powerful against the run and active on pass plays. If the Saints want to go between four- and three-man fronts, Robinson gives them that versatility.

Dan's Top 5 players remaining

  • 11. Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State
  • 13. Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
  • 14. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
  • 15. Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
  • 16. Reggie Ragland, MLB, Alabama

Saints picks

  • 1-12: A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
  • 2-47: (coming April 15)
That does it for our picks today. We start back up tomorrow at 9 a.m. with the Miami Dolphins and The Phinsider.

Complete draft results:

1. Tennessee Titans - Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss (Link)
2. Cleveland Browns - Jared Goff, QB, Cal (Link)
3. San Diego Chargers - Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State (Link)
4. Dallas Cowboys - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State (Link)
5. Jacksonville Jaguars - Myles Jack, LB, UCLA (Link)
6. Baltimore Ravens - Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State (Link)
7. San Francisco 49ers - DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon (Link)
8. Philadelphia Eagles - Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (Link)
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky (Link)
10. New York Giants - Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame (Link)
11. Chicago Bears - Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida (Link)