NFL Nation: Malcom Jenkins
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
Despite limited salary-cap space, the Saints continue to be active in free agency.
Mike Triplett reports the Saints are interested in defensive lineman Paul Spicer and center Nick Lickey. They also had defensive lineman Shaun Cody in for a visit last week. Spicer can play end or tackle and Cody is an interior lineman. Pursuing them shows the Saints are looking for insurance in case starting ends Charles Grant and Will Smith have to serve suspensions at the start of the season, after reportedly testing positive for a banned substance last year. Spicer also has a history with new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. The two were together in Jacksonville the last two seasons.
Third end Bobby McCray and Spicer could be suitable starters for a four-game stint and Spicer's versatility could help the rest of the line the rest of the season. Cody could be viewed as an upgrade over Antwan Lake, who is a free agent and the Saints could consider releasing Hollis Thomas or Brian Young if they sign Cody.
It looks like the Saints are working to shore up their needs before the draft. If they make moves on the defensive line before then, it appears there would be only one glaring need to address with the 14th overall pick. That's the defensive backfield, where Malcolm Jenkins could be a prime target. Jenkins is a cornerback, who some project as a safety.
New Orleans' biggest need is at free safety and the Saints could consider moving Jenkins or cornerbacks Usama Young or Mike McKenzie there. They've also visited with free-agent safety Darren Sharper. He remains a possibility, but no deal appears imminent.
The Senior Bowl festivities are underway and 30 of the NFL's 32 teams are in offseason mode. That can only mean one thing: It's mock draft time.
ESPN's own Mel Kiper issued his first mock draft of the year Wednesday night, and Mel has Detroit taking Georgia quarterback Matt Stafford with the No. 1 overall pick. At No. 9, Kiper's got Green Bay selecting Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins. (All picks below No. 16 require an ESPN.com Insider subscription.)
But I think it's also interesting to look at Kiper's "Big Board," a fluid ranking of draft-eligible prospects. As of Wednesday, Kiper's top player was Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Kiper has Stafford ranked as the fourth-best player -- one spot above USC quarterback Mark Sanchez.
Just a little something to whet your appetite with a month to go before the annual scouting combine and three months away from the 2009 NFL draft.