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2019 New Orleans Saints Draft: Day 3 targets

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What hidden gems remain as the 2019 NFL draft enters it's final day?

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The New Orleans Saints jumped into the fray of the 2019 NFL draft by moving from the 62nd overall pick (2nd round) to the 48th selection in a trade with the Miami Dolphins and drafting Texas A&M center Erik McCoy. While McCoy is expected to compete for an immediate starting job along the Saints offensive line, New Orleans had no further activity through rounds 2 or 3. The Saints enter the final day of the draft this afternoon (rounds 4-7) with the 116th overall pick (4th round), along with #168 (5th), #177 (6th), as well as numbers 231 and 244 of the seventh round. New Orleans has had great success in the later rounds under coach Sean Payton, grabbing standouts like Jahri Evans, Jermon Bushrod, and David Onyemata (4th round), Carl Nicks, Thomas Morstead, and Tyeler Davison (5th round), and Zach Strief and Marques Colston in the 7th round. Here are some potentially outstanding players still available as the draft enters it's final day at 2pm eastern time this afternoon

QUARTERBACK

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Jarrett Stidham (Auburn)

Ryan Finley (N.C. State)

David Blough (Purdue)

Brett Rypien (Boise State)

Stidham and Finley were both projected to perhaps be drafted on day two, and each could have an NFL future, while Blough and Rypien could be solid developmental projects.

RUNNING BACK

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Elijah Holyfield (Georgia)

Mike Weber (Ohio State)

Wes Hills (Slippery Rock)

Jalin Moore (Appalachian St)

Bryce Love (Stanford)

A couple of bruising between the tackles runners will be available who could make an NFL roster, and provide a good change of pace to backs Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray. The Saints have had decent success at finding serviceable backs as undrafted rookies, something to watch if some of these players don't get selected.

WIDE RECEIVER

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Terry Godwin (Georgia)

Gary Jennings (West Virginia)

David Sills V (West Virginia)

Hunter Renfrow (Clemson)

Stanley Morgan Jr. (Nebraska)

Riley Ridley (Georgia)

Preston Williams (Colorado St)

Kelvin Harmon (N.C. State)

Emanuel Hall (Missouri)

Darius Slayton (Auburn)

Despite a run on receivers through the second and third rounds, several talented wideouts remain who could make an instant impact on the team that drafts them. The Saints surprised some by not moving to draft one in the first few rounds, including a human lightning bolt in Andy Isabella selected at their original 2nd round pick of 62. They should be able to get Drew Brees either a sure handed intermediate weapon to go along with All-Pro Michael Thomas, or one to threaten opposing defenses deep, something that was consistently lacking last season.

TIGHT END

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C.J. Conrad (Kentucky)

Tavon Wesco (West Virginia)

Foster Moreau (L.S.U.)

Caleb Wilson (U.C.L.A.)

Alize Mack (Notre Dame)

Isaac Nauta (Georgia)

Kaden Smith (Stanford)

Many expected New Orleans to address this position earlier, despite the free agent signing of Jared Cook. A handful of very good receiving tight ends came off the board in rounds 2 and 3, but this position (like receiver) seems extremely deep. The Saints could still draft a solid two-way tight end to bolster this spot for the future.

DEFENSIVE END/EDGE

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Jamal Davis II (Akron)

Joe Jackson (Miami)

Shareef Miller (Penn State)

Austin Bryant (Clemson)

D'Andre Walker (Georgia)

The Saints already have All-Pro Cameron Jordan and last year's 1st round selection Marcus Davenport at end, but there is some question about depth. A player like Davis, Miller, or Jackson could strengthen the rotation, and provide good pass rushing threats with underrated run stopping skills.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

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Chris Slayton (Syracuse)

Gerald Willis III (Miami)

Byron Cowart (Maryland)

Kingsley Keke (Texas A&M)

Renell Wren (Arizona State)

Sheldon Rankins won't be back in the lineup until midseason because of an Achilles injury, but the Saints did sign Malcom Brown and Mario Edwards Jr. to team with David Onyemata and Taylor Stallworth at tackle. There are a few intriguing projects here though that could develop into quality NFL starters.

LINEBACKER

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Vosean Joseph (Florida)

Ulysees Gilbert (Akron)

Terrill Hanks (New Mexico St)

Mack Wilson (Alabama)

Khalil Hodge (Buffalo)

Blake Cashman (Minnesota)

Chase Hansen (Utah)

Tre Lamar (Clemson)

David Long (West Virginia)

A.J. Klein is in a contract year, and there are a few linebackers still on the board that have good sideline to sideline ability, along with solid pass coverage skills and the versatility necessary to play multiple spots.

CORNERBACK

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Michael Jackson (Miami)

Mark Fields (Clemson)

Kendall Sheffield (Ohio State)

Amani Oruwariye (Penn State)

Julian Love (Notre Dame)

The Saints have a solid corner rotation, but someone like Fields (son of former Saints linebacker Mark Fields), Jackson, or Sheffield would bring outstanding speed, solid man coverage skills, and good special teams potential.

SAFETY

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Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (Florida)

Amani Hooker (Iowa)

Jaquan Johnson (Miami)

Deionte Thompson (Alabama)

Malik Grant (Marshall)

Sheldrick Redwine (Miami)

Khari Willis (Michigan State)

Vonn Bell is in a contract year, Marcus Williams regressed a bit in 2018, and depth is a major question. Gardner-Johnson, Hooker, and Thompson were all expected to be drafted anywhere between the late 1st-early 3rd rounds, and would give the Saints a solid rotation on the back end.

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NFL history is littered with late round draft finds who have had great success. Recent Hall of Famers Shannon Sharpe (7th round) and Terrell Davis (6th round), along with some quarterback named Brady in New England are just a few examples of special players who somehow slipped into draft's late rounds. Colston had instant success as a rookie with the Saints, and he, Evans, Bushrod, Strief, and Morstead are among the best players in franchise history. While it's a stretch to suggest that anyone drafted today could be donning a Hall of Fame jacket, with so much talent still available, Day Three of the draft has proven worthy of paying close attention to.