Day One: Saints Address Four Different Positions

The New Orleans Saints had a very busy first day of the 2002 NFL draft with four first day selections. They will be equally busy on day two when the team has five picks.

The New Orleans Saints draft went according to plan with the additions of WR Donte Stallworth, DE Charles Grant in round one, C LeCharles Bentley in round two, and OLB James Allen in the third round. All four players were tremendous value picks, with Mueller getting his man Stallworth at #13 without moving up to get him.

The draft fell according to plan for the Saints and after all of the talk about moving up, GM Randy Mueller stayed put and took two players in Stallworth and Grant that will be asked to make an immediate impact.

Stallworth is a 6'0", 196-pound WR with 4.2 speed, but has been hampered by injuries throughout his career. He tore his ACL his freshman year and broke a wrist this past season at Tennessee. There is no question that this kid will be an outstanding football player, IF HEALTHY. He has the vertical speed and the big play ability the Saints needed.

Grant is a 6'3", 278-pound DE who will likely play both RDE and LDE this year. He has seen his stock really improve since his pro day workouts where he had a 36" vertical and ran 4.60 and 4.68 in the forty. He gives the Saints some tremendous speed off the edge, something the team needed desprately.

Second round pick LeCharles Bentley was rated as a late first round pick on alot of boards and luckily for the Saints, the 6'2", 300-pound center was available at #44 and Mueller was quick to grab the All-Big 10 center. At the Senior Bowl, Bentley displayed a mean streak that teams fell in love with. His workouts were solid all-around and he will become the heir apparent to Jerry Fontenot, who is likely entering his final season in New Orleans. Bentley has the potential to be an oustanding pivot man for years.

In the third round, the Saints took OLB from Oregon State, James Allen. The 6'2", 240-pound Allen has been impressive over the past two years at OSU and was given a huge vote of confidence by OSU head coach Dennis Erickson. Mueller talked to Erickson shortly before making Allen the pick and Erickson expressed that Allen would be the guy for the Saints. Mueller made the pick.

After the first day, there is no doubt that the Saints had one of teh top three or four drafts thus far. Day two should be alot of fun, as we have five picks in the last four rounds. Look for the Saints to add a FS, a RB, and likely a CB. They will also look for depth at other positions, like OG and maybe take a QB late.


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