Perfect Picks: New Orleans Saints
With the NFL Draft approaching we will be looking at each team and evaluating where they need to improve. In this particular series we will run a seven round mock using the Draft Network Mock machine and find the ‘Perfect Picks’ for each franchise.
We will highlight five players that could help each team. This will include a ‘flex’ pick where we give you two ways a potential pick could go depending on how the board falls. All in all you will get picks 1 and 2, a mid round gem and a late round sleeper.
With Drew Brees returning, the Super Bowl window remains very much open for the New Orleans Saints. Guest writer Sam Akroyd takes a look at some prospects they may target with their limited number of draft picks:
Round 1 - Pick 24 - Josh Jones, OT, Houston
The draft narrative for New Orleans is providing Drew Brees with all the tools necessary to get him another ring in what may well prove his last roll of the dice. For a lot of commentators this means giving another elite pass catcher alongside Michael Thomas, but with the depth at that position this year and New Orleans’ propensity for maximising receiver talent I don’t see it as a first round concern. Far better to get the best talent available to keep Brees upright and in as clean a pocket as possible.
There’s every chance Houston’s Josh Jones is still on the board for Sean Payton on day one and he adds to an impressive back catalogue of offensive lineman draftees in his time in the Big Easy.
Jones has been rapidly rising draft boards after a strong Senior Bowl showing and has the blend of strength and athleticism you would expect from a first round lineman. He should offer plenty in his rookie season whilst already showing development in his game that bodes well for any post-Brees plans Payton may have.
Flex Pick - Pick 24 - Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
If the best offensive linemen have gone then the Saints may as well get some top end talent at receiver to share some of Michael Thomas’ workload. Shenault, of course, has fantastic physical traits but most importantly for Sean Payton is his versatility. He moved around the Colorado offense, from H-back to wide receiver to wildcat quarterback, in a way perhaps only Taysom Hill could sympathise with. Whilst it’s tempting to imagine all the myriad of ways he could be used in New Orleans his ability to stretch the field vertically would be his main use in black and gold next season.
Round 3 - Pick 88 - Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
With no second round pick at their disposal, the Saints must wait until the end of day two before making their next selection. A great example as to why New Orleans don’t need to rush for a receiver, Chase Claypool is a monster and could still be available in round three. The former Fighting Irishman has a blend of size, speed and power not seen since Calvin Johnson and one can only imagine what Payton could scheme up with this guy available to him. On top of all that he’s a wide receiver called Chase. Sign him up.
Mid Round Gem - Pick 120 - Alton Robinson, EDGE, Syracuse
With a front seven creaking under injuries and age and potentially gutted by free agency, the Saints may see the value in adding an explosive edge rusher from Syracuse to their roster. Robinson is likely to slide a little because of a robbery charge he picked up coming out of high school that cost him a place at Texas A&M but has a high ceiling and could make an immediate impact in the NFL. He’ll need to round his game out more in future seasons but in 2020 he could offer a little X factor to a Super Bowl drive.
Late Round Sleeper - Pick 183 - Antoine Brooks, S, Maryland
A versatile safety to polish off a limited draft for the Saints. Brooks reads the game well and has a competitive streak that makes up for some of his physical shortages. At this stage of the draft you’re more likely looking for character than any standout athleticism and Brooks’ on-field attitude is what coaches love to see in young talent. With both Vonn Bell and DJ Swearinger heading to the open market, expect Mickey Loomis to bolster the back end of this defense at some point in this draft.
Draft in full
24. Josh Jones (OT)
88. Chase Claypool (WR)
120. Alton Robinson (EDGE)
151. McTelvin Agim (IDL)
183. Antoine Brooks (S)
Feature Image Credit: Wesley Hitt (Getty Images)
Avid New Orleans Saints fan Sam is co-founder and resident funny man on the Collapsing Pocket Podcast. Be sure to hit him up on twitter @samjustsamyeah for all things black and gold, served with a healthy dose of sarcasm.