Though the New Orleans Saints are without a second round pick (for now) the depth at certain positions in this 2020 NFL Draft class will go a long way in helping the Saints restock and reload heading into 2020, looking for a chance to get back into Super Bowl contention.
Let’s take a look at my most recent projections in the first three rounds for the New Orleans Saints, and their targets as draft season really gets ramped up in the coming weeks.
Round 1, Pick 24: WR Laviska Shenault Jr. (COL)
Well there’s no surprise with this selection in the first round for the Saints. A player that is often mocked to our New Orleans franchise settles in as the nearly automatic No. 2 wide receiver behind the record-setting machine in Michael Thomas.
You can check out my full breakdown of the type of prospect that Shenault is, but the first thing you should know about him is that he’s an elite athlete, with experience at multiple positions in the offense. If the Saints can grab a hold of Shenault with the 24th pick in the first round, it could prove to be a steal in the long run in the type of offense that Sean Payton and Co. like to run—lots of tricks.
Laviska Shenault can challenge defenses at basically every level of the field. He’s got an impressive mixture of size, physicality and ball skills that come with an ambitious drive on the field. Perhaps one of the biggest reasons he’s a perennial home run play threat comes in the fact that his vision and opposition avoidance are high quality traits that allow for plenty of yards after the catch.
If the Saints can grab him in round one, they may finally have found a complementary receiver for the dynamo they have in Michael Thomas. I don’t think this will be the only receiver they acquire in the off season, either. Assuming they keep either Drew Brees or Teddy Bridgewater, every piece counts in the hunt for a second Super Bowl.
Round 2: C Erik McCoy
The Saints traded their second round pick in 2020 (along with the 62nd overall pick in 2019) to the Miami Dolphins in order to move up in the second round to draft center Erik McCoy 48th overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. As such, the Saints do not have second round pick in 2020 as it stands right now, but history says Mickey Loomis will be unable to just sit back the entirety of the 2020 second round, so we’ll see if the Saints make a trade back into the second round. But that’s for another mock draft.
Round 3, Pick 88: OL Lloyd Cushenberry III (LSU)
Let me explain this one a bit.
Cushenberry was an absolute star on the offensive line this season, and will without a doubt be a riser in this year’s NFL Draft process, starting this upcoming week in Mobile, Alabama for the Senior Bowl. I have him slotted as being one of the more promising interior offensive linemen in this year’s class. No homer picks here folks—Cushenberry can flat out play.
Though he’s been knocked for not being the lead communicator up front in this LSU offense, which may very well be the reason he falls this far in most mock drafts, Cushenberry can slot right into he Saints offense at a few different positions to fill out the roster for depths. A big, athletic center in college, he could very well have a future at the guard position in the NFL.
A very raw prospect overall, Cushenberry would benefit from having a good coaching staff to teach him to recognize defensive fronts better, and maybe even putting on a little lower body strength. He’s got room to improve, but could have an additional advantage after working in a New Orleans-style offense in this, his senior year.
The remaining rounds... should be used to fill in spots in the secondary, special teams and perhaps even trade back into the second round. If we get word that neither Brees or Bridgewater will be back, this drastically changes the draft. For now, though, the Saints grab a dynamic ,explosive wide receiver and a multi-purpose interior offensive linemen.