Welcome to draft week, bitches!

Mercifully, it appears we've finally awoken from our collective year-long fever dream, and at long last, shit's about to get real once again.

Dan Dalrymple has Our Heroes (and Patrick Robinson) back to grinding and chopping and pureeing and whatever else they do on the line there. Our award-winning Executive Chef is back in the kitchen and apparently more eccentric than ever, blasting those nips and looking vaguely like he just came from auditioning to be the new drummer for Green Day. There's a brand new big fat party animal in charge of conjuring up the chicken salad, and while it remains to be seen whether or not his recipe is any better, all indications so far are that he's at least somewhat less of a complete sociopath than our last big fat crazy-ass garde manger. Somehow Mickey Loomis manages to continue stocking the fridge using whatever loose change he can find out in the parking lot. And later this week, we're getting a delivery of brand new exotic proteins to put on the menu. Shouldn't we be a hell of a lot more excited about all this than we seem to be so far?

Maybe it's just me, but I get the sense that for the most part we Saints fans are still walking around in a malaise. Apparently the shit show that was 2012 did one hell of a number on our collective genitals, which had already been battered and bruised and hadn't yet fully recovered from the previous two consecutive Januarys. It's perfectly reasonable, of course, that we wouldn't exactly be in the most confident of moods right about now, and that "I'll believe it when I see it" would be the prevailing attitude.

After all, at this point nobody really has the slightest fuckin' clue whether or not the annual defensive rebuild is gonna actually work out this time. There doesn't seem to be a consensus on whether Rob Ryan is actually… you know… somewhat competent, or whether he's a blowhard goofball who's making his living off his dad's reputation. All we really know for sure about the switch to a base 34 defense is that it's about the only thing left that they haven't already tried. Nobody's really sure whether or not there's a serviceable full-time pass rushing outside linebacker currently on the roster, let alone two of 'em. If Will Smith, Brodrick Bunkley and Cameron Jordan couldn't stop opponents from rushing for 5.2 yards per last season in a 43, how the hell are they supposed to do it this season in a 34? If Curtis Lofton, Jonathan Vilma and Roman Harper couldn't cover a fuckin' tight end last season, what reason is there to believe they're gonna be able to this season? Malcolm Jenkins and Patrick Robinson may or may not just plain blow. And on and on like that.

And if all that weren't enough, some observers are beginning to notice cracks forming in the foundation of the offense. There's a big scary "hole" at left tackle, the offensive line is now in the hands of yet another big fat party animal, Mark Ingram may or may not be "just a guy," nobody's really sure whether the Real™ Jimmy Graham is the one from 2011 or the one from 2012, the starting wideouts aren't getting any younger, and even Sean Payton himself has cautioned us to refrain from expecting him to strut back into the office waving a magic wand around and sprinkling pixie dust all over the place. Shit!

And if all THAT weren't enough, the draft hasn't even started yet and the Saints are already pretty much boned, right? They already pissed away The Next Marques Colston Adrian Arrington for the opportunity to hang out with Barrett Ruud for a few weeks. (To be fair, it was well worth it. Have you seen his Joe Vitt impression? It's HILARIOUS!) Joffrey had already long since ganked them out of their second rounder, because he's a dick. And worst of all, their first round position is more uncomfortable than the back of a Volkswagen. They pick too late to secure any of the kids with sufficiently fluid hips and/or strength at the point of attack, and they pick too soon to take any of the other guys left on the board without "reaching" and failing to "maximize the value" of the pick. Once again, shit! Apparently no player in this draft "grades out" precisely at 15. Or something. So they're screwed either way. Just our fuckin' luck, right? If only they had either won or lost one more game last season, they'd be sitting pretty. DAMN YOU, HARTLEY!!!

So, yeah. Clearly we're doomed.

Hell, we can't even come to anything even vaguely resembling a consensus on what the Saints' primary need is at this point, which has us all as confused and irritable as a bunch of deranged monkeys roaming the interstate. Some of us think the pass rush has been sufficiently addressed already with Victor Butler and the switch to a base 34 allowing Junior Galette and/or Martez Wilson to spend less time picking splinters out of their asses. None of us are really sure whether or not Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma can still play. Nobody's really sure whether or not the Saints have any legitimate starting safeties. Ditto for the tackles. Is Akiem Hicks an end or a nose? Should Sean Payton just say "Fuck it, might as well just try to score 40 a game" and go with Tavon Austin or Cordarelle Patterson? (Hint: The correct answer is "no.")

Complicating matters even further is that nobody can even agree on the relative hip fluidity of any of these kids in the first place. There's no slam-dunk no-brainer even at #1 overall, let alone 15. Every one of these kids has something wrong with him. It could be a lack of experience, or lack of production in college, or not enough sand in his pants, or an inadequate thrust into the gap, or insufficient length in the toes, or maybe he has bony loins, or he's a knucklehead, or maybe he's just a douche with a stupid face.

By its very nature, the process lends itself to hypercriticism. And I think most fans tend to focus on whatever's filed under "weaknesses" because we're perpetually freaked out over the possibility of our favorite team coming away with a "bust." And we all have our own priorities when it comes to which "weaknesses" are negligible and which ones are deal-breakers. Is a physical limitation more or less troubling than a rep for laziness? Is a medical issue more or less troubling than a DUI? How about two DUIs? Do you prefer the guy who kicked ass in college but doesn't necessarily "project at the next level" for whatever reason, or maybe he's "already maxed out" or whatever? Or do you prefer the guy whose "production was disappointing" in college but "projects" and has a "higher ceiling?" And on and on like that.

It all adds up to a big jumbled mess of "who the hell knows." To an even greater degree than most years, there's just no consensus on anything. Need, BPA, value, who's likely to still be on the board when the Saints end up on the clock, it's all over the map.

So what do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO???

My advice: Relax.

The great thing about this draft, in my opinion, is that it's going to be incredibly difficult for the Saints to fuck it up too badly. (High five!)

Somebody the Saints can use and we fans can get excited about (if we allow ourselves to) is gonna be there. Whether it's Jarvis Jones, or Star Lotulelei, or Lane Johnson, or Kenny Vaccaro, or Xavier Rhodes, or whoever. It may not be your guy or my guy, and it might even be a perceived "reach" (OMG!) like Jonathan Cyprien or Matt Elam or Tank Carradine or Jamie Collins or — god forbid — an LSU guy like Kevin Minter or Eric Reid. But you know what? All of those guys can help the Saints.

Which isn't to say that I don't have "my guy" because of course I do. It may come as a total shock to you that my guy is Barkevious. By a mile. Why? Well, because I'm a total fuckin' homer. Or something. Sue me. It doesn't hurt that I've also thoroughly convinced myself that he's the second coming of former New Orleans Saints linebacker Pat Swilling.

His so-called "weaknesses" bother me far less than those of other guys. He's not a knucklehead, he doesn't have any medical issues and he doesn't have any physical limitations aside from the rap that "he's too skinny" and Dan Dalrymple would have that shit handled by June 1. "Needs work on his technique, needs to become more well-rounded." You could say that about pretty much anyone in any draft. Certainly everyone in this particular draft. But there are absolutely no indications that he's some kind of dumbass who is incapable of learning new tricks, or an asshole who just won't. To the contrary, all indications are that this guy is willing and able to learn whatever it is you want him to. "Disappointing production in college." For one thing, I think that's a total myth. I haven't the slightest idea why his stat sheet is supposedly so "disappointing." But whatever. The guy makes an absolute shitload of "plays that don't show up on the stat sheet." He is the very definition of a "disrupter" and that's just the baseline. The "if that's all he is…" assessment. But at the same time, the upside is incredible.

But you've heard all those arguments and counter-arguments over and over again. Here's a different argument you probably haven't heard a whole lot of people making: Barkevious, without a doubt, by a mile, would absolutely be the most entertaining — the most fun — pick they could possibly make. And if that's completely irrelevant to you, then you take all this shit way too seriously.

Hey, don't get me wrong. I want the Saints to get the best player they can possibly get just as much as the next guy. But since I don't know who that guy is (and neither does the next guy) give me the fun pick. I don't mind drafting a tackle if that's clearly the way to go and we're staring The Next William Layton Roaf right in the face. But otherwise? ENTERTAIN ME! Give me a guy who's gonna make watching Saints football more fun.

Know what's big fun? Fucking sacks. Pat Swilling style sacks where the poor chump who's dropping back to pass can't even finish his third step. The kind where in the blink of an eye the poor bastard is flat on his ass and the ball is bouncing around on the turf.

Give me a guy I genuinely like. As a person. A guy I can totally mark out for. The guy who there's absolutely nothing not to love about. The guy who's always got that big goofy grin on his face all the time. The guy who is completely unpretentious. The guy you just can't help but to root for unconditionally (alright, fine, semi-conditionally.) Not just because he kicks ass, and not just because he's a Saint, but because he's just so goddamn likeable. Because you'd want to be his friend anyway. Give me the guy who's wide-eyed and just having an absolute blast. Give me the guy who is the absolute antithesis of an asshole.

Give me The Black Thomas Morstead.

And then in the third, give me the motherfucking Honey Badger. Please.

Because I'm a total homer. Guilty as charged, I don't care. But setting aside all the bullshit labels for just a second, I want Mathieu for most of the same reasons I want Barkevious. Because the dude can straight ball. Because he's never done anything other than straight ball.

If Barkevious is the second coming of Pat Swilling, Mathieu is the second coming of Sammy Knight. He's just got some kind of crazy inexplicable knack for playing football. And just as you can't teach Mingo's speed, length and other measurables, you can't teach Mathieu's innate… something. Whatever it is, he's just got "it." A shitload of "it."

The Sammy Knight comparison not doing it for ya? How about "The Darren Sproles of defense." He's a gadget player, but I'll be damned if he isn't one hell of a gadget.

That not working for ya either? Alright, let's give this one more try. Would you not spend a third round pick on Devin Hester? Hell, forget Devin Hester. Would you not spend a third round pick right now today for Tyrone Hughes? Mel Gray? Michael Lewis? I would.

"But Wang, I thought you were anti-knucklehead!"

Touché. Two things though. Firstly, there's a HUGE difference between taking a knucklehead in the first round and taking one in the third. And secondly, there are two kinds of knuckleheads. There are knuckleheads who are just fucking assholes, who do things like kick people in the face and steal from friends/teammates/roommates and beat women up and shit like that. Fuck those guys. And then there are good kids who aren't trying to hurt anybody or anything, but they do stupid shit because they're just looking to have a good time, and they're young and dumb and they think it'll never come back to bite them in the ass. Right up until it does. Maybe more than once. Because, this just in, they don't always "learn their lesson" the first time. I sure as hell didn't when I was in my early 20s, and I damn sure didn't have any reason to think I'd keep getting pass after pass because I was hot shit.

All indications are that Mathieu is the latter. And that's okay with me. Maybe he never gets his head out of his ass. I'm willing to take that risk. Because I genuinely believe that he's trying to get a grip upon his shit. And because the worst-case scenario just doesn't bother me all that much. The world isn't going to end if the Saints take a chance on a guy in the third fucking round and it doesn't work out because he just can't put the damn bong down. I'll get over it, and so will you. It wouldn't be the first time, nor will it be the last. We lived through Jonathan Sullivan, for crying out loud.

Meantime, would you not be entertained?

Hell, our friends over at the Who Dat Social Club have already paid the price of admission by introducing the thing where Mathieu will be "officially" listed on the Illegitimate™ depth chart at the position of "Honey Badger." I cannot wait to participate in that whole deal. "Tyrann Mathieu | Honey Badger | New Orleans Saints" Big, BIG huge fuckin' crazy-ass fun.

I think I'm gonna take a cue from the Angry Who Dat here and invent my own brand new proprietary draft strategy: MAPA. When all else fails, ALWAYS go with the Most Amusing Player Available REGARDLESS OF POSITION!!! (with the exception of the following six positions…)

Hey, it's gonna play out the way it's gonna play out regardless of whether or not you or I approve. There's not a damn thing we can do about it. So relax. Have fun with it. Twitter is gonna be a goddamn party Thursday night regardless of what happens. Wackiness will surely ensue. Joe Vitt will be texting phony "Pick is in, Matt Barkley" messages to Jeff Duncan while the Saints are on the clock, and it'll be HILARIOUS! Soon thereafter Sean Fazende and Fletcher Mackel will be confirming, and that'll be even more amusing.

Join us, won't you? After all, isn't that what this whole Saints Football thing is supposed to be all about in the first place? Fun? Amusement? Crazy shit?

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