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LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers, No. 90, is a top prospect in the upcoming NFL football draft. (Associated Press)<br>

LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers, No. 90, is a top prospect in the upcoming NFL football draft. (Associated Press)

Hobbs: Saints in LSU's shadow for draft

Last Modified: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 8:44 PM

By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

So what’s wrong with this picture?

It appears that our fine state’s flagship college football team, LSU, will have more representatives on hand at the NFL draft than our state’s Saints.

LSU will be a lot busier, too, particularly on the first day Thursday, when it matters.

The Tigers will definitely have one more head coach in residence than the Saints, although you should get really suspicious if somebody at the New Orleans table is wearing a bad pair of fake Groucho Marx mustache-eyebrow glasses.

A minimum of two, and probably three, Tigers will be gone by the end the first round, with head coach Les Miles on hand as their special guest, no doubt palm-clapping them on to glory.

Cornerback Mo Claiborne is top five, with defensive tackle Michael Brockers somewhere in the middle, and wide receiver Rueben Randle enough of a late first-round possibility to be one of the 26 players invited to New York to squirm in the NFL’s famed green room.

This much we know: none of them will be Saints.

The Saints won’t be anywhere near the clock until late, late Friday, late in the third round.

By then, Miles will have turned the Central Park lawn into a salad bar and the Saints will be looking for usable leftovers.

It does make one wonder how prudent it was last year to trade away this year’s top pick so they could draft running back Mark Ingram.

Nothing against Ingram as a player, he’s a good one. But the Saints’ offense has shown that as long as Drew Brees is directing it, you can put about any old piece of scrap metal in the backfield and be effective enough with it.

It just seemed they had far more pressing needs.

That trade didn’t make a lot of sense even before the Saints knew NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would confiscate their second-round pick this year as due penance for bountygate.

Of course, given the hanging mood Goodell was in for that tribunal, if the Saints had a first-round pick, he might well have snatched it away, too.

So now they have denied their fans the pleasure of opening draft day. The Who Dats have nothing better to anguish about than what the Eagles will do with the 88th overall pick before the Saints get their first shot at No. 89.

Until then they’re just, ahem, eavesdropping on the festivities, waiting to pick up the phone and hear that familiar voice common to opposing coordinators in the Superdome coaching booth: “Your call may be monitored for quality assurances.”

The Saints also have picks No. 122, No. 162 and — hallelujah, the Reggie Bush trade to Miami paid off! — they switched places with the Dolphins in the final round (No. 234) and moved up 17 full slots all the way to No. 179.

The Saints won’t really have a full day of work until Saturday, when Miles begins his full-time weekend job with the NFL Network.

Yes, Miles was hired by the network for expert commentary for the draft’s final day (Saturday) and will be on hand for random, drive-by interviews the first two days of coverage.

Presumably The NFL Network will have interpreters on hand to decipher Miles’ language tussles in front of a whole new audience.

For instance, don’t be alarmed when he describes a player as “capable” as in high praise and not a subtle buzz word for merely average. “Very capable” is the fast track to the hall of fame.

A “want” is the deep, burning desire to accomplish something, and the “chest” to play in the NFL is, well, it means the guy brings the goods and probably the kahunas, too.

If a team “does not accomplish victory” it means they flat out lost.

He’s got a million of them, so stay tuned. It should be entertaining.

Nick Saban will also be a guest at the gala, relative to the invitation of five of his Alabama players who should go in the first round.

But if you’re keeping score at home, that’s eight of the 26 invited players from LSU and Alabama, so maybe they got it right for the BCS title game.

Saban and Miles are there because they love their players like proud parents and want to share this big moment in their lives.

Well, that and also the fact that it’s a great opportunity for recruiting — a not-so-subtle way of suggesting “Come play for me and you too could be standing up here next to me in Radio City Music Hall.”

The guest appearances on the NFL Network won’t hurt any either.

Miles, for instance, will probably let it slip that, assuming his current trio all goes first round, that will make 11 LSU first-rounders on his seven-year watch.

Both he and Saban might mention casually that 12 of the 26 special guests are from the SEC and, if they really want to play dirty, that only one is from the Big Ten and no other conference has more than four.

The Saints won’t get to meet any of them. They’ll be picking and choosing while the maintenance staff is sweeping up the confetti from the big party.

But good luck to them. Maybe there’s another Marques Colston lurking out there.

At any rate, Jordan Jefferson should be available — assuming Miles will let go of him.

•••

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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