Heading into free agency, the New Orleans Saints' two most glaring needs were edge rusher and cornerback.
Heading into the draft, that hasn’t changed.
Perhaps the Saints will still wind up trading for New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler. (That idea isn’t dead yet, but apparently it has been languishing until the April 21 deadline for restricted free agents to sign with other teams might spur some action.) It's also possible the Saints could make a bold move and trade for Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, though there has been no indication yet of the Saints showing interest in him.
Barring a deal for one of those guys, the Saints will almost certainly target a cornerback with one of their top three draft picks, at No. 11, No. 32 or No. 42.
As for edge rusher, that has to be considered the odds-on favorite for the Saints' pick at No. 11. Not only is it a “must” for the Saints, but there are several worthy candidates who could potentially be available, led by Tennessee’s Derek Barnett and Michigan’s Taco Charlton. Temple’s Haason Reddick is another possibility, though many analysts believe he might be better suited as an inside linebacker in the NFL.
The Saints did address their need at edge rusher in free agency with a solid, low-risk, high-reward signing in Alex Okafor, who still has some breakout potential after injuries hampered his first four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. But even with Okafor, the Saints still need to add a more dynamic, disruptive presence to their front seven.
Below is a look at how the Saints’ defensive depth chart stands after the first month of free agency. Click here for a breakdown of the offense.
LS: Jesse Schmitt