2002 NFL Draft: Inside the Saints' War Room

With just 5 days left until the 2002 draft, the SaintsInsider staff will take you inside of the Saints' war room all week and give you the inside scoop on what the team is looking to do and who they are looking to draft.

With the recent signings of UFA's David Sloan, Victor Riley, Grady Jackson, and Jerome Pathon, New Orleans has certainly made it clear that they're intentions are to win NOW instead of waiting for the young talent to develop. In what could be Randy Mueller & Co. last season in the big easy, the boys went back and took a page for the 2000 season. Make a BIG splash in free agency and let's keep our fingers crossed and hope it works out.

Is it a smart move? Well, it's worked once before, so it could be successful again. Bottom line is that when speaking to the Saints front office in recent weeks, it was made abundently clear that they will lay it all on the line this year.

Willie Jackson will not be back, but with the addition of Jerome Pathon, the team has two very solid starting receivers in Joe Horn and the newly acquired Pathon. However, there is nothing solid behing those two on the depth charts. Sure, you can make a case for Robert Wilson and Jake Reed, but let's face the facts, an upgrade is needed. So, with that said, expect New Orleans to do some dealing and move into the top 10 picks to select Donte Stallworth, who has been the team's #1 overall player on the draft board for over a month now.

Should the team fail in moving up and Stallworth is gone, two players the Saints have been really hot on are Antonio Bryant the WR from Pitts, and Georgia DE CHarles Grant. Both players are high on the team's wish list. Another player to keep an eye on is Napoleon Harris, the OLB/DE from NOrthwestern

Team officials have told SaintsInsider.com that they are leaning heavily toward packaging BOTH first rounders in an effort to move into the #6, #7, or #9 holes. Dallas holds the #6 pick and according to New Orleans native and well-respect draft analyst Matt Gambill, from All-Pro Scouting Services, Dallas is locked in on Quentin Jammer, T.J. Duckett, and Phillip Buchanon with that selection. Minnesota is sitting at the #7 spot where new head coach Mike Tice has been very open in stating his desire to acquire ALOT for that pick. Minnesota, along with Kansas city and Jacksonville are the three teams who are seriously considering drafting Donte Stallworth, who the Saints covet so greatly.

Here are a few things to remember for this Saturday:

1. The Saints must get a playmaker with that first pick, whether it's on defense or offense.

2. Donte Stallworth would be the 3rd receiver initially, but he could make a case for the starting WR job opposite Pro Bowler Joe Horn.

3. If they stay at the #13 pick and the #25 pick, one of those picks will likely be used on a receiver. Antonio Bryant and Ashley Lelie are the two to keep in mind if Stallworth is gone and the Saints stay put.

Stay with us all week as we will go further inside the team's draft plans and we will keep you updated if any significant happenings arise over at Saints camp.


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