The Saints could use added competition on their roster and could find that in the draft by selecting two small school prospects. With Drew Brees in the twilight of his career, New Orleans must maximize the value from their draft picks. The two positions being featured here are the EDGE and linebacker.
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Derek Rivers (Youngstown State, EDGE)
The Saints can definitely upgrade on the edge. The only real pass rusher New Orleans could count on last year was Cameron Jordan. Even though Hau’oli Kikaha is coming back from injury, the front office will be looking to add someone who can apply pressure. A good small school guy that fits the bill is Derek Rivers.
Rivers had a great career with Youngstown State that culminated with him playing in the FCS National Championship game. He spent his career terrorizing quarterbacks, bringing them down behind the line 37.5 times. He had a good run at the Senior Bowl, showing off a nice first step and utilized his speed off the edge. He has shown the ability to convert speed to power and demonstrates advanced hand usage.
Javancy Jones (Jackson State, LB)
With the additions of Manti Te’o and AJ Klein, the linebacker position already has some added pieces. The Saints can use a player like Jones, who can rush the quarterback or play off the ball.
Jones is a versatile linebacker that can play multiple spots, including all four spots in a 3-4 defensive set. His best projected fit however is at the inside linebacker position (3-4) or SAM linebacker (4-3). Jones is very athletic and can shoot gaps quickly and does a great job of setting the edge as well. In 2016 at outside linebacker, Jones posted 82 tackles (19.5 TFL) and four sacks. He is a fiery competitor that loves to pump up his teammates, and is a proven playmaker on the field.