I’ve been hearing a lot about my outlook on the draft. People have been saying “Brandan, all you’re looking at is defense, defense, defense. What about the Saints offense? That’s what let them down last year.” Well, let me answer that with this: Look at what who the Super Bowl. A team predicated on defense. So naturally (if the old adage stands and defense wins championships), why would you expect anything less than that? Well, here’s another shocker for you. Another defensive prospect that will help the Saints greatly. Oregon State DE Scott Crichton.
Looking at film on Crichton and immediately the first thing you notice is his extremely quick first step off the snap. At 6’3″ 265lbs, Crichton has been clocked at a 4.73 40yd dash time. Very good for an edge rusher. Instantly you would believe he was too small to play DE in a 3-4 system, but I wouldn’t bet on that. Oregon State Head Coach Mike Riley went on record saying that Crichton may be a one trick pony and only able to fit into the 4-3 defensive scheme, but looking at Crichton’s ability to beat his opponent off the ball, disrupt running plays in the backfield, set the edge when needed, and get after the QB, that sounds like the perfect 3-4 DE or OLB to me.
With his size being in such flux I see Crichton being able to play both spots efficiently. He’s capable of staying on the field for all downs if necessary, and that’s what Rob Ryan likes, versatility in his starters. Look at guys like Akiem Hicks (6’5″ 325lbs DE/DT), Junior Galette (6’2″ 258lbs DE/OLB), and Kenny Vaccaro (6’0″ 214lbs DB). All versatile and flux in size. Perfect for the Saints defense.
Crichton is a first round pick that I see falling into the later part of the draft, albeit for the Saints, who need to draft a CB first, I see a possible aggressive move to get back into the first round late via trade with maybe the Broncos, to get Crichton. Similar to what the team did a few years back when they drafted Cam Jordan and Mark Ingram. But teams who are drafting on need in the first round may pass on Crichton and he may fall into the early parts of the 2nd round which would also be an ideal situation for the Saints.
Either way, I wouldn’t look pass Scott Crichton being a potential pick. His draft selection would be a telling sign for someone like Brodrick Bunkley. Crichton would more than likely play the DE spot normally filled by Akiem Hicks, and Hicks would move inside to play the NT spot with John Jenkins coming in as relief. That would most likely mean the release of Brodrick Bunkley.
I see the Saints continuing to overhaul the defense with young talent and an aggressive move such as this draft pick is highly feasible.