Don't get too excited about the NFL draft just yet because we're still a good 90 days away from it actually happening. Before we truly discuss the possibilities in earnest many things will transpire with the roster that could completely change the brass' thinking of what/who they select. If you're as obsessive about the possibilities as I am, though, you want to be prepared for what could happen. If nothing else it's fun to explore different scenarios.
So I'm going to keep the Saints' "big board" of 25 prospects and I'll update it as time goes on leading up to the NFL draft. The Saints select 27th overall, so my line of thinking is that more than one of the 25 prospects will be available at 27th overall. I did not include any quarterbacks on this list as I don't think drafting a quarterback in the 1st round is a good move for the franchise in its current state. Based on that, and the fact that I believe at least four quarterbacks will be chosen before the Saints pick at 27, it's extremely safe to say at least five of these guys on the "big board" will be available and probable more like 10-15 will still be around as unpredictable as the draft is.
I present you Saints Nation's 2014 Saints NFL Draft Prospect Big Board.
**I put two stars by the guys that I think are most likely to seriously have a shot at being available and drafted by the Saints at 27:
1. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina: There's no way he'll get out of the top three picks, but a man can dream, right? There is zero chance whatsoever he's available at 27, but he's arguably the best player in the entire draft.
2. Jake Matthews, T, Texas A&M: He's widely viewed as the best tackle in the draft, at least until the combine. I'll be surprised if he doesn't go somewhere in the top 10. I think the Saints will lose Zach Strief so tackle could end up being a huge need.
3. Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson: He's the consensus best play maker in the draft so far and he's as explosive as it gets. He'd be a huge boost to the offense which sorely missed a field stretcher.
4. Anthony Barr, DE, UCLA: He's the explosive pass rusher in this class that could make the Saints' rush even more significant than it already is. In my first mock I have him going 6th overall to the Falcons.
5. Greg Robinson, T, Auburn: Some say he's better than Matthews.
6. Marqise Lee, WR, USC: Like Watkins he's just so explosive he is too good to pass up if he drops to 27. Won't happen.
7. Kahlil Mack, OLB, Buffalo: No shot of him dropping to 27 but you know the Saints love guys from no name schools.
8. **Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma St: I'm between him and Dennard as the best corner in the draft. Most people would pick the latter but I think Gilbert might be a better fit for New Orleans. The Saints are desperate for help at corner so that's why I have them high on this board. With Jabari Greer and Patrick Robinson coming back from season ending injuries the Saints need young talent at this position. I have him going at 21 in my first mock so as of right now it's not completely out of the realm of possibility he could fall. And you know Payton loves long corners after what he saw with Keenan Lewis.
9. Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan St: Most view him as the best corner in the draft, I don't see him dropping to 27.
10. Taylor Lewan, T, Michigan: Another tackle unlikely to make it to 27 that would really help cushion the blow of a possible Strief loss.
11. **Zack Martin, T, Notre Dame: I had the Saints as taking him in my mock draft. I still think he's gone at 27 but we're starting to enter the territory of guys that could be available on this board.
12. **Cyrus Kouandjio, T, Alabama: Another tackle the Saints should keep an eye on.
13. Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M: He'll be drafted early and you might be surprised to see him so low, but I just think he's a faster version of Marques Colston. The Saints need a vertical threat so the fit isn't great, but Brees would still love to have him I'm sure.
14. **Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville: If he's available at 27 I think long and hard about this one. I know you guys might think it's crazy to take a safety in the 1st round for the second straight year but I think Pryor is a possibility. He plays a different position than Vaccaro and in my opinion he's the best safety in the draft.
15. **Jason Verrett, CB, TCU: Some mocks have the Saints taking him. He'd give a nice shot in the arm to a depleted backfield. He doesn't have great size which could see him drop, but he's a football player through and through. Good in coverage, good tackling and good hands.
16. C. J. Mosley, ILB, Albama: He's a great player for someone, and if all these guys ahead of him are picked I'd consider him. I just think the Saints are fairly set with David Hawthorne and Curtis Lofton as high volume tackle guys.
17. **Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU: I fully admit I'm a homer but man, this would be a huge pick up. Decent shot he's there at 27.
18. **Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri: There's a pretty good chance he'll be available and some mocks have the Saints taking him.
19. **Davante Adams, WR, Fresno St: We're in the territory of guys I'm pretty confident will be available at 27. Adams would be a weapon with Brees throwing to him.
20. Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama: He'll probably be gone, and honestly I don't really want him. He's a bit of a character question mark and I think he lacks discipline. He also doesn't have great ball skills, which I think would compliment Vaccaro better. But if all the guys above him are gone, I think about him at 27.
21. **Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU: Another homer pick, but I saw him play and he's more solid than Beckham. Less explosive and a lower ceiling, maybe, but more reliable. I think wherever he goes he will make an impact immediately, whereas Beckham might need a little seasoning.
22. **Morgan Moses, T, Virginia: He's a beast in size but I'm hoping the Saints won't need to go this far down the list at 27. He should be available.
23. Louis Nix, NT, Notre Dame: I love this guy but the Saints drafted John Jenkins last year. He's this low because the Saints just don't need a one trick pony run stuffing nose. If they did, though, he'd be pretty high on this board. I would only draft him if everyone above is gone.
24. Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame: Great player, and he's huge, but I just think he's too similar to Akiem Hicks, and Hicks is better. And there are bigger needs elsewhere.
25. Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina: He'll be drafted before 27 and he's the best tight end in the draft. Bar none. Keep an eye on him with the developing Jimmy Graham situation, but I don't see the Saints investing all that money in Graham (either on a long term deal or a franchise tag) and then taking a tight end first.
In general, this seems to be a good year for QBs. What other positions are strong as well in this draft?
One guy I didn't list here is Allen Robinson, WR of Penn State. He's maybe not a first round worthy pick but if he falls to 58 it would be a dream come true.
@MarijnPessers tackle is pretty good with the top 5 but there's a drop off after that. WR is definitely strong.