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Thursday, April 25, 2013
Panthers, Saints go with defense

By Pat Yasinskas


 
The Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints both went with defense in the first round of the draft.

The Panthers took Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei at No. 14, and the Saints took Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro at No. 15.

My quick analysis on both:

Let’s start with Lotulelei. This was a guy that some people talked about as a potential No. 1 overall pick before medical questions arose. Reportedly, he checked out fine medically, and I’m sure the Panthers wouldn’t have made this pick if they thought there was any risk. Lotulelei should be able to jam the middle, something the Panthers haven’t been able to do since the departure of Kris Jenkins after the 2007 season. Linebacker Luke Kuechly is going to be able to roam more than he did last season, and Lotulelei is going to take blockers away from defensive ends Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy.

Now, let’s move onto Vaccaro. I’m a little surprised the Saints didn’t go with a pass-rusher at this spot as they convert to a 3-4 scheme. But this shows that new coordinator Rob Ryan saw some major problems in the existing secondary. I think this move probably means the beginning of the end for strong safety Roman Harper.

I’ll be back with more later.