Saints set up meeting with top DE

The news that Saints DE Charles Grant is still recovering from offseason knee surgeries could make defensive end a higher priority in next month's draft. The New Orleans Saints might agree. They've set up a meeting with one of the draft's top defensive ends next month. Find out more inside.

Ohio State defensive end Vernon Gholston told Sirius NFL Radio on Friday that New Orleans would be one of five teams he'll meet with next month leading up to the NFL Draft.

Gholston did not reveal the date.

Gholston, a projected Top-10 pick, will meet with New England, the New York Jets, the Saints, St. Louis and Oakland. All have selections in the Top 10.

The scheduling is curious. Recently, Saints defensive end Charles Grant talked about his offseason surgeries. He had a torn ligament repaired in his ankle and told the New Orleans Times-Picayune the injury was much more severe than anyone thought. He also suffered a stabbing at a nightclub last month.

Grant became the poster boy for the Saints' anemic pass rush last season. The Saints managed just 32 sacks. Grant had 2 ½ sacks in 14 games.

Gholston (6-foot-3, 266 pounds) is considered the No. 2 end in the draft behind Virginia's Chris Long. Gholston has played in the last two national championship games for the Buckeyes. He has been timed in the past at 4.56 in the 40-yard dash, two-tenths of a second faster than Long.

Gholston has a knack for getting into the backfield, as he finished last year with 14 sacks (tied for third in the nation) and 15 ½ tackles for loss (eighth in the Big Ten).

Gholston was a finalist for the Ted Hendricks award, given to the nation's top defensive end. He also earned All-Big Ten Conference first-team honors.

He also led the Buckeyes to a No. 1 ranking in total defense (233.0 ypg), scoring defense (12.77 ppg), pass defense (150.15 ypg) and a third-place finish in rushing defense (82.85 ypg).

It is believed the Saints are targeting cornerback, linebacker or defensive tackle in the first round of the draft, where they select No. 10.

Matthew Postins is the publisher of Saintsinsider.com. He is an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers Association.


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