NFL Nation mock draft: Saints get Bud Dupree, Malcom Brown

BRISTOL, Conn. -- ESPN’s NFL Nation mock draft was a good example of why you can’t get caught up in projecting draft picks based solely on positional needs.

I followed conventional wisdom when I made my pick for the New Orleans Saints at No. 13 -- going with Kentucky outside linebacker Bud Dupree, whom I ranked as my best bet for the Saints at No. 13 last week.

But then at No. 31, I had to pounce on Texas defensive lineman Malcom Brown because the value was too good to ignore. As the pick approached, I was still debating between receivers Jaelen Strong and Phillip Dorsett. But Brown also fills a need as a big, athletic, versatile end who can bounce from tackle to end in 4-3 or 3-4 fronts, providing excellent run defense and decent pass rush. Brown (6-foot-2, 319 pounds) had 6.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss last year before declaring for the draft a year early. Scouts Inc. ranks him 17th overall.

The Saints have said defense is the top priority in this year’s draft. So they should be pleased if Round 1 plays out like this -- even if it means they won’t be able to address all of their top needs in the first two rounds (inside linebacker, receiver, cornerback and guard are next on the list).