Saints take Clemson DT Bresee with 29th pick in NFL draft
METAIRIE, La. (AP) — The New Orleans Saints selected Clemson defensive tackle Bryan Bresee with the No. 29 overall pick in the NFL draft on Thursday night, addressing a position of need after several departures in free agency.
The 6-foot-5, 298-pound Bresee made 16 tackles and had 3 1/2 sacks for Clemson last season and was at the heart of a defensive front that ranked 12th nationally against the run last season, allowing 102.7 yards per game.
The Saints' run defense ranked 24th in the NFL last season, a precipitous drop from their rankings of fourth or better the previous four seasons.
This offseason, defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen left the club and joined the Atlanta Falcons, as did former Saints starting defensive tackle David Onyemata. New Orleans also lost two other prominent defensive linemen in free agency, with tackle Shy Tuttle joining Carolina and defensive end Marcus Davenport heading to Minnesota.
New Orleans' depth along the interior was further thinned by free-agent tackle Kentavius Street leaving for Philadelphia.
The Saints entered this offseason without a first-round choice, but received one from Denver in exchange for letting former coach Sean Payton come out of retirement with the Broncos.
Paton's successor, Dennis Allen, is a former Saints defensive coordinator who continues to oversee a defense that has ranked seventh or better the past three seasons.
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Brett Martel, The Associated Press