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2013 NFL Draft Fallout: New Orleans Saints

The 2013 NFL Draft transformed 32 NFL rosters. Around The League will examine the aftershocks in our Draft Fallout series. Next up: The New Orleans Saints

The Big Question: Can third-rounder Armstead protect Brees' blindside?

Concerns about the vacancy at left tackle have kept head coach Sean Payton up at night ever since Jermon Bushrod signed with the Chicago Bears. The Saints aren't sold on oft-injured former second-rounder Charles Brown, and newly signed Jason Smith has been an unqualified bust.

Enter Terron Armstead. Coming out of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, the freakishly athletic Armstead set an NFL Scouting Combine record for offensive linemen with a 4.71 second 40-yard dash after impressing at the East-West Shrine Game as well as the Senior Bowl.

Although the Saints have entrusted left tackle to a rookie just once in franchise history, general manager Mickey Loomis isn't ruling out Armstead as the Week 1 starter.

Armstead certainly possesses the physical attributes to succeed on Brees' blindside, but he faces a steep learning curve after playing his college ball in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

"He's as raw as can be but had as freaky a combine as anyone not named Lane Johnson," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock explained. "When you plug him into New Orleans, this kid is a developmental player. You need to redshirt him (this year), and he's a starter next year."

The Saints might not have the luxury of letting Armstead sit for a year. If he's a better option than Brown or Smith, he needs to be guarding Brees' blindside.

Three Takeaways

  1. Roman Harper is on the wrong side of 30 and coming off the worst season of his career, but his roster spot at safety likely is safe despite the addition of first-rounder Kenny Vaccaro. The Saints already have guaranteed half of Roman's $5.25 million salary. They will have to figure out how to use Roman, Vaccaro and Malcolm Jenkins in a three-safety rotation.
  1. The Saints traded up to grab their nose tackle of the future for Rob Ryan's 3-4 defense in massive third-rounder John Jenkins. Drawing pre-draft comparisons to Seattle Seahawks run-plugger Red Bryant and New York Giants pocket-pusher Shaun Rogers, Jenkins could carve out a big role as a rookie.
  1. Fifth-rounder Kenny Stills is expected to compete with Nick Toon and deep threat Joe Morgan for the third receiver role held by Devery Henderson last season. Stills blazed a 4.38 40-yard dash at the combine after recording 82 receptions for 959 yards and 11 touchdowns in a productive junior season at Oklahoma. He has sleeper appeal in fantasy leagues.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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