It was a relatively quiet night at the Saints’ headquarters on Airline Drive on Friday with the Black and Gold armed with two third round picks.
The Saints had the 56th overall pick in their second round before dealing that selection the day before as part of the surprising trade with the New England Patriots that resulted in running back Mark Ingram being picked up by the Black and Gold.
With their first selection of the third round (72nd overall) the Saints selected Illinois linebacker Martez Wilson. Both USA Today and WWL AM Draft analyst Mike Detillier had Wilson going in the second round, with the former rating him the second best linebacker in the draft and the latter the top inside linebacker.
Most significantly, Wilson is quick, having run the fastest 40-yard dash of any linebacker at the combine.
In his post-round press conference, Saints head coach Sean Payton said he would utilize Wilson as an outside linebacker at the “sam” (strong) side. Payton compared Wilson’s physique with that of former Saints olb Scott Fujita.
The Saints grabbed Louisville cornerback Johnny Patrick with their other third round pick (88th overall). USA Today ranked Patrick as the 11th best cornerback in the draft while Detillier had Patrick as the 12th.
Though the Saints are fairly well-stocked at cornerback with starters Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter in addition to the team’s first round selection in last year’s draft, Patrick Robinson, the Patrick pick can be attributed in part to front office’s desire to upgrade their reserves in that area.
In his post-third round comments, Payton shared that he envisioned Patrick contributing on special teams as a gunner.
Overall the Saints got value while addressing some of the team’s needs on defense and on kick coverage.