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Third round — No. 78 overall
Why?: The departure of Jeff Faine to Tampa Bay will put some real pressure on Jonathan Goodwin, whom the Saints have pegged to take a crack at replacing Faine. But you have to believe that the Saints will want some protection if Goodwin can't make the transition, and Pollak would make a great insurance policy.
At 6-foot-3, 300 pounds, Pollak is a bit larger than Faine. Scouts say he still needs to gain some weight and get a mean streak, but the basics for being a solid NFL center are there. He's athletic and can get into his stance quickly. He's an adept pass blocker and is credited with an ability to pick up delayed blitzes, a nice trait when you consider how much Drew Brees was asked to throw last year. He communicates well, has the ability to pull and handle off-tackle runs.
The big drawbacks — an inability to sometimes hold his ground against speedier tackles and a tendency to be pushed off-balanced — could be remedied by gaining more weight and improving his form and leverage. Most draft experts consider him the No. 3 center in the draft, on par with Notre Dame's John Sullivan and Bowling Green's Kory Licthensteiger. And, with the signing of veteran Matt Lehr, Pollak likely won't have to play right away.
Alternate theory: I could see the Saints addressing an offensive skill position here, perhaps taking East Carolina RB Chris Johnson, who at 5-foot-11 and nearly 200 pounds would most resemble a Deuce McAllister-type back with this selection. I still think the Saints could lean toward a wide receiver here, but there's plenty of talent in this draft and the Saints have proved recently that they can find gems late (Marques Colston). I really see this third-round selection as an offensive pick.
Saintsinsider.com was one of the first to break down the significance of several of the Saints' offseason moves, with the help of the expert analysis of the Scout.com network. Read more about these signings, and their impact on the Saints, right here:
Matthew Postins is the publisher of Saintsinsider.com. He is an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers Association.