This is the second installment of The Onside Kick’s interview with college football expert and NFL Draft guru Mike Detillier. Mr. Detillier is a contributor to WWL 870 AM’s Sportstalk program and writes an annual NFL Draft guide that is available at www.MikeDetillier.com.
TOK: Will the Saints pursue Louisiana Tech defensive tackle D’Anthony Smith?
MD: I think D’Anthony is a 3rd or 4th round pick. He needs to work with the weights some though he runs the field well and is disruptive. If the Saints haven’t already drafted a defensive tackle by the 2nd round then I think it’s possible.
TOK: Since Hurricane Katrina, the Saints Draft Party has been held across from the training facility in Metairie. This year it will be held at the Esplanade Mall in Kenner. Is this move related to the Super Bowl win?
MD: I think it has to do with liability more than anything else. The area where the draft event has been held is not well lighted. In fact, I remember a few years when it got dark early when attendees pulled their cars up to the tent to provide lighting. Especially with the draft becoming a primetime television event, moving it from the soccer field by the training camp only makes sense. Weather also won’t be a factor as it has been in the past (2008) when they needed to shut it down because water was getting inside of the tent.
TOK: Who would you say was the best 1st round draft pick by the Saints?
MD: Without question Willie Roaf (1993, 8th overall pick), the best offensive player to wear a black and gold uniform.
TOK: Who would you say was the best 2nd round draft pick by the Saints?
MD: The best defensive player to ever wear the black and gold uniform, Rickey Jackson (1981, 51st pick overall). Rickey’s going to the pro football hall of fame. Willie’s going to be there when he is eligible.
TOK: Who would you say was the worst 1st round selection by the Saints?
MD: It’s a toss-up between two players but I would have to go with punter Russell Erxleben (1979, 11th pick overall). They should have never picked a punter or a kicker that early. Erxleben was an OK punter but he couldn’t kick a field goal to save his life. Then I would have to say defensive tackle Jonathan Sullivan (2003, 6th pick overall). We got nothing out of him and the Saints had to trade up (17th and 18th overall picks) to get him.
TOK: Will an LSU player be selected in the 1st round?
MD: LSU will have its 1st round selection streak broken this year. An LSU player had been selected every year in the 1st round since 2004. However, that said nine or ten LSU players could be drafted this year, which would be a new record for the school. Either safety Chad Jones or wide receiver Brandon LaFell will likely be the first Tiger taken this year.
TOK: With the Saints having so many restricted free agents signing one-year deals that will likely become unrestricted free agents with a new collective bargaining agreement, will the Saints front office will be drafting towards addressing potential 2011 position vacancies as much as 2011 position needs?
MD: That’s an excellent point that doesn’t get brought up much. A player’s projected “signability” is always a big issue with the front office. A player’s age, contract and “signability” during draft time.
Special thanks to Mike Detillier for sharing his vast insight on the Saints organization and college football. Mr. Detillier will be offering his analysis on the NFL draft throughout the week on WWL 870 AM’s Sportstalk and from the station’s live broadcast at the Saints Draft Fest at the Esplanade Mall in Kenner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The event starts at 4:00 PM on Thursday. The NFL Draft begins at 6:30 PM on Thursday.