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Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Could Saints jump up for left tackle?

By Pat Yasinskas

Generally, I try not to read too much into pre-draft visits.

Teams will bring in a bunch of prospects that they won’t end up drafting, simply because they’re doing their homework.

But there’s one visit going on Tuesday that has at least made me curious. The New Orleans Saints reportedly are hosting Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson.

The Saints have a glaring need at left tackle after the departure of Jermon Bushrod in free agency. Johnson would be a great fit, but the potential stumbling block in this scenario is that it’s likely he won’t be available when the Saints pick at No. 15.

In virtually every mock draft I’ve seen, Johnson is gone before No. 15, and he usually is in the top 10.

The fact the Saints have him in for a visit at least makes me wonder if they would consider trading up to get Johnson. It’s possible, but I’d say it’s a long shot.

The Saints might not have the means to make such a move. They’re without their second-round pick (as punishment for their bounty program). Also, the Saints haven’t placed a premium on their tackles in the Sean Payton era. They generally have used later picks (like Bushrod and Zach Strief) at tackle. Plus, there’s the fact that the Saints have some big needs on defense.

But the left tackle is the guy that protects Drew Brees’ blind side. Makes you wonder if the Saints might break from their routine and try to trade up for Johnson.