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Mel Kiper’s three-round ‘A-grade’ mock draft for the New Orleans Saints

If Mel Kiper were running the Saints draft, then this is how he’d pick to get them a top grade.

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Ohio State Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. released a three-round mock draft on Wednesday morning, in which he acted as the general manager for each team. Kiper’s approach was based on team needs, and the end goal was to get an ‘A’ grade for each club. For the New Orleans Saints, here’s how their five picks came out.

Round 1 (11): Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
Round 1 (32): Adoree' Jackson, CB/PR, USC
Round 2 (42): Curtis Samuel, WR, Ohio State
Round 3 (76): Joshua Dobbs, QB, Tennessee
Round 3 (103): Derek Rivers, OLB, Youngstown State

OK, hear me out: The Saints desperately need cornerbacks. It has been quiet on the Malcolm Butler front lately, and so here I have them getting corners with their two first-round picks. I like Delvin Breaux, but he played only 287 snaps last season. I would run the pick to the podium if Lattimore, my top-ranked corner, is here at 11. He's a one-year starter with big-time tools, including a 4.36 40 and 38½-inch vertical at 6 feet, 193 pounds. Jackson has a smaller frame (5-foot-10, 186 pounds) and might end up as a slot corner. But in a pass-happy league, slot corners are on the field most of the game. I wouldn't hesitate to take him at the end of the first round, and he'll also return punts. With the trade of Brandin Cooks, there will be touches available, and Samuel is a hybrid playmaker who had more than 70 receptions and rushes and 15 total touchdowns last season. Dobbs, my fifth-ranked QB, could be gone by the end of the second round. Even after bringing back Chase Daniel, the Saints need to find a Drew Brees successor. Rivers is a ferocious pass-rusher with a great motor and had 41 career sacks.

I’d echo that Marshon Lattimore would be a huge pick if he lasts until 11th, and that’s how it panned out in my last mock draft. Now, his approach to add two cornerbacks with both first round picks may not be ideal, and Adoree’ Jackson wouldn’t be my top choice there at 32. Curtis Samuel has been a popular name paired to the Saints, but his draft projection is all over the board. The Ohio State pipeline worked well for the black and gold last season, so Samuel would be brought in with welcomed arms.

The Josh Dobbs pick is where this draft goes a bit south, in my opinion. I’ve been totally against adding a quarterback in this draft for the sake of the ‘win-now’ mentality. Wasting a third roster spot for a quarterback isn’t something I care for, and Dobbs as the future of the Saints is something I couldn’t project.

Derek Rivers lasting until the third round would be a tremendous get for Dennis Allen’s defense. Some mocks have placed him in the late first round, while many have him as a second round pick.


How would you grade Kiper’s three rounds for the Saints?

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  • 13%
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    (545 votes)
  • 45%
    C or below
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