2018 NFL Draft: Biggest Saints, LSU headlines, plus TV info, key details, more

April 23, 2018 GMT

The 2018 NFL Draft begins Thursday, starting a three-day stretch that will end with more than 200 college athletes getting a shot to be professional football players.

Specifically for Louisiana, the New Orleans Saints have eight picks, starting with the 27th overall selection.

The other seven picks: third round: 91st overall pick, fourth round: 127th overall pick, fifth round: 147th overall pick, fifth round: 164th overall pick, sixth round: 189th overall pick, sixth round: 201st overall pick and the seventh round: 245th pick.

For LSU, it’s possible 10 Tigers will hear their names called between Thursday and Saturday. Those players: running backs Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams, wide receiver D.J. Chark, defensive backs Donte Jackson and Kevin Toliver II, defensive end Arden Key, offensive linemen Will Clapp, K.J. Malone and Toby Weathersby and quarterback Danny Etling.

TV/broadcast info (draft to be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas)

-- Round 1: Thursday at 7 p.m. CT on NFL Network, FOX, ESPN, ESPN2

-- Rounds 2,3: Friday at 6 p.m. CT on NFL Network, FOX, ESPN/ESPN2

-- Rounds 4-7: Saturday at 11 a.m. on NFL Network, ABC, ESPN

New Orleans Saints: What you need to know

Overview: During free agency, the Saints tried to put themselves in position to draft best players available, regardless of position. The team bolstered its defense by signing safety Kurt Coleman, defensive back Patrick Robinson and linebacker Demario Davis. It also added wide receiver Cameron Meredith and tight end Ben Watson to passing game and sought to improve depth on the offensive line with veteran Jermon Bushrod. The Saints were unable to sign a big-name defensive end or defensive tackle, so those areas could become draft priorities, particularly in light of coach Sean Payton’s recent comments that improving pass rush is “a must.”

Draft breakdowns by position: QB, DT, DE, DB, WR, LB, TE, OL, RB

Guessing game: Whom will the Saints draft? Nick Underhill and Joel A. Erickson make their best guesses | Latest round up of mock drafts

More expert analysis:

Managing the ‘bottom line’: A behind-the-scenes look at how the Saints arrange their draft board

How Sean Payton, Saints would redesign their offense to suit strengths of Drew Brees’ successor

Saints enter another draft looking for pass rushers, but they’ve been smart not to force a pick

Saints need to remain in the ‘quarterback business’ during this draft

Saints likely looking for diamonds in the rough with fewer picks on first two days of NFL draft

LSU Tigers: What you need to know

Players you’ll likely see come off the board first: Guice ... Guice is the only LSU player invited by the NFL to the draft in Arlington

Most interesting player to watch: Key ... NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock predicts Key could even fall as low as a third day pick.

Predictions via the Associated Press’ Ralph D. Russo:

Guice: Strengths: Runs violently once he breaks the line of scrimmage and has breakaway speed. Weaknesses: Some durability concerns. Might not be a three-down back. Fact: Set an SEC record with three career 250-yard games. Gone by: Middle of second round.

Jackson: Strengths: Speed. Lots of speed. Weaknesses: Light and lacks strength. Fact: Louisiana state high school champion in 100 and 200 meters. Gone by: End of second round.

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Key: Strengths: Big-time pass-rush potential, combining size, range and agility. Weaknesses: Production comes and goes, and he did not show much last season after returning from a shoulder injury. Fact: Set LSU single-season record with 12 sacks in 2016. Gone by: Day 2 though first round is definitely possible.

Because we know you’re always wondering...

If Saints have a bias against LSU, so does the rest of NFL against their in-state colleges

For reference...

Updated list of LSU players in NFL