Saints set to meet with one of draft's top LB

The New Orleans Saints made several moves at linebacker this offseason, but the biggest move could be coming. Are the Saints contemplating taking a linebacker with their No. 10 pick? If so, they're doing some research, as one of the draft's top linebackers will come to New Orleans for a visit. Plus, get Scout.com personnel guru Tom Marino's scouting report on this player.

USC linebacker Keith Rivers will visit the New Orleans Saints later this month as the Saints continue their research for the upcoming NFL Draft.

Rivers is coming off his pro day at USC last week and appears to be entrenched as the draft's top linebacker.

Rivers announced the meeting on his blog, where he mentioned that he also has meetings set up with New England, Dallas and Detroit.

Saintsinsider.com has learned that the Saints also have meetings set up with Ohio State DE Vernon Gholston, Troy CB Leodis McKelvin and Indiana CB Tracy Porter.

Rivers is considered the No. 1 middle linebacker in the draft and in many mock drafts he is being taken in the Top 10. NFL Network's Mike Mayock has the Saints taking Rivers in his latest mock draft.

Rivers is coming off an all-America season with the Trojans. Here's what Scout.com's Tom Marino wrote about Rivers in his 2008 NFL Draft Guide:

" Has outstanding playing skills, runs extremely well and has very good playing instincts. Has absolutely great intangibles. Good first-step quickness and the ability to find the ball on the inside. Doesn't linger on blocks and closes to the ball extremely well. Will fail to secure at times, but overall was a solid tackler. Versatile; could play all three linebacker positions and never has to come off the field in sub packages."

The Saints re-signed Mark Simoneau and signed free-agent Dan Morgan last month, but the majority of their linebackers have logged at least six years in the NFL and a shot of youth could be needed.

Rivers to rank second on the team with 78 tackles (44 solos), including five stops for losses of 15 yards and one quarterback pressure. He recovered three fumbles and caused another. He also deflected four passes.

He missed one game last year due to an injury and had offseason surgery to remove bone spurs from his ankle.


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


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