A position-by-position look at the New Orleans Saints' draft needs, ranked in order of importance from 1-12:
Current depth chart:
RB Pierre Thomas, signed through 2016
RB Mark Ingram, signed through 2014
RB Khiry Robinson, signed through 2015
RB Travaris Cadet, scheduled to become RFA in 2015
FB Erik Lorig, signed through 2017
FB Austin Johnson, signed through 2015
Draft possibilities: This won’t be a high priority for the Saints since they have so much depth on the current roster -- and since they have an uncanny ability to unearth talent among the undrafted rookie pool every year. So there is virtually zero chance New Orleans will select a running back in Round 1.
However, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Saints grab a developmental running back in the middle rounds if they have a high grade on someone. Thomas will turn 30 at the end of the year, and Ingram is a free agent after this season, so there will be some question marks about their depth in the near future.
The Saints have decided not to exercise their fifth-year option on Ingram for the 2015 season -- but they're still high on his potential. It would have cost New Orleans $5.2 million, which is more than the going rate for free-agent running backs, especially part-time backs like Ingram. It’s still possible the Saints could try and work out a more affordable long-term extension with Ingram -- especially if he continues to build off his strong 2013 finish.
In the meantime, a dynamic triple-threat back with kick-return abilities would be an especially intriguing possibility for the Saints in this year’s draft since they traded away veteran Darren Sproles this offseason. Although Cadet could help fill that void, prospects like Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas and Kent State’s Dri Archer might be tempting. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. suggested the blazing-fast Archer as a good fit for the Saints in Round 2 on "SportsCenter" Monday night.