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Saints could turn to Devonta Freeman to replace Darren Sproles


Twitter is a wonderful tool to follow along with all the NFL news going on this week. It's even becoming a resource players around the league are using to find out about ... themselves.

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NFL Media insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday night that while the Saints originally had intended to release running back Darren Sproles in a salary cap-related move, the team had changed its mind and believed it would be able to trade him instead.

That was a bit of a surprise to Sproles, who tweeted the news was something he was unaware of until seeing it on Twitter.

While we'll avoid discussing how the Saints discuss personnel moves with their players, it does highlight what the team might have to do in the draft to address its needs. After signing free agent Jairus Byrd, franchising tight end Jimmy Graham and re-signing running back Pierre Thomas, there's not a ton of cap room left for New Orleans to make an impact in free agency, so the draft might be the only way to fill some holes on the roster.

Count NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah as somebody who thinks that could mean the team goes after a running back at some point in the draft.

"I look at Devonta Freeman out of Florida State. He can catch the ball out of the backfield, you can plug him into some middle routes and put him in that role," Jeremiah said Wednesday on NFL Network.

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If the Saints decide to address their defense, Jeremiah sees a prospect that could align with their needs on that side of the ball, as well.

" Demarcus Lawrence from Boise State is a name that people are going to start to learn," Jeremiah said. "He's a perfect fit in this Rob Ryan defense as an edge pass rusher."

New Orleans holds the 27th pick in the first round and mock drafts from NFL Media analysts have them opting for either a defensive lineman or offensive tackle. While they might not be able to do a ton of maneuvering in free agency anymore, they still have plenty of options in a deep draft despite picking late.

"Where they're picking, (Notre Dame offensive tackle) Zack Martin is a great pick down there. There's a couple of other guys, (Virginia tackle Morgan) Moses is a possibility," NFL Network analyst Charley Casserly added. "They do have some options and Davonta Freeman has three votes (among the analysts) at this table."

Freeman, projected to be drafted in the second or third round, might just be a target for the Saints to fill in for the soon-to-be-departed Sproles.

Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.



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