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Saints Love a rookie QB in Mel Kiper’s recent mock

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NCAA Football: Utah State at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

It’s now time for mock draft season - are you excited?

In Mel Kiper’s recent mock draft for ESPN (Insider required), the New Orleans Saints select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love with the 24th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft:

So you probably see Love’s stat line — 20 touchdown passes, 17 interceptions — and think this pick doesn’t make sense, but you need to know the context around this Utah State team. Love lost his top five pass-catchers from his breakout 2018 (32 TDs, six INTs), along with a few starters along the offensive line. The Aggies just didn’t have the offensive talent around him to compete. At 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, Love can make every throw, and NFL teams are high on his talent. He could be a first-round pick with a strong pre-draft process, which started in Mobile, Alabama, at the Senior Bowl. As for the Saints, this pick is all about projection. There’s no guarantee that 41-year-old Drew Brees will return in 2020, and Teddy Bridgewater is also a free agent. Love could develop for a year or two behind a bridge quarterback. New Orleans, by the way, doesn’t have a second-round pick, so it needs to hit here.

Love is one of those quarterbacks that could conceivably go anywhere from the middle of the first round to the beginning of the third round, depending on what teams value in his play. Pro Football Focus recent did a piece on love titled “Buyer beware on Utah State QB Jordan Love,” in which they show some of Love’s biggest flaws. Those include a propensity to turn the ball over, acknowledged by Kiper.

Compared to some of the other noteworthy quarterbacks in this year’s draft, Love struggles with accuracy and ball-placement, specifically in horizontal routes the Saints often utilize - crosses, slants, etc.

In case you’re curious, the player mocked to the Saints in Canal Street Chronicles’s first 2020 mock draft, Colorado WR Laviska Shenault, Jr., went off the board two spots earlier than the Saints in Kiper’s mock to the Buffalo Bills, 22nd overall.