Saints make an unconventional pick in last-minute USA Today mock draft

It kind of feels like a lost cause to check in on all of these final mock drafts given the likelihood of the New Orleans Saints trading up and out of the No. 29 overall pick, but it’s still a good idea to check in on what the experts are predicting for the black and gold.

And this last-minute projection from USA Today’s Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz has the Saints making an unconventional pick at the end of Round 1: former Iowa State Cyclones pass rusher Will McDonald IV. Here’s what Middlehurst-Schwartz wrote of that match:

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Perpetually in a playoff push, New Orleans might be inclined to jump-start its front four after losing Marcus Davenport in free agency. The 6-4, 235-pound McDonald throws blockers off balance with his rapid burst and elasticity as a pass rusher, but he’ll have to bulk up to stay on the field.

McDonald would add a lot of juice to the Saints depth chart at defensive end, but he isn’t the kind of prospect they typically value. He’s about 20 pounds underweight for their minimum size at the position, and even their lightest defensive ends have had to bulk up to nearly 270 pounds before they were allowed to get on the field. So McDonald would probably need to pack on 35 pounds before he’d be getting snaps ahead of Tanoh Kpassagnon and Payton Turner, much less starting in front of Carl Granderson across from Cameron Jordan.

It’s frustrating that the Saints would pass up on good players because of this philosophy, but it’s been the case before and it’s bound to happen again. Dennis Allen believes in his prototype for the position even if it’s led him into strikeouts with Davenport and Turner. There’s little to suggest things are changing on this front, but we’ll see. Maybe the Saints surprise us. McDonald was very productive in college and tested like a high-end athlete. It just comes down to him not fitting the thresholds the Saints use.

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Story originally appeared on Saints Wire