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NFL.com’s 3-round mock draft presents odd selections for New Orleans

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I guess it’s possible.

NCAA Football: Utah at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

We’re only approximately one month away from the 2020 NFL Draft and one week away from the start of free agency. As we continue down mock draft season, drafts are starting to shift slightly to respond to rumors and moves that have already occurred this offseason.

It seems that NFL.com has yet to make similar adjustments. In their recent three-round mock, the New Orleans Saints go off the radar with the 24th overall selection, picking QB Jacob Eason out of Washington:

Jacob Eason - QB

School: Washington | Year: Junior (RS)

Drew Brees’ decision to continue playing likely means that Teddy Bridgewater will move on in free agency. Head coach Sean Payton may consider Eason’s skill set too tempting to pass on.

To be clear, I don’t hate this pick. I don’t like it, but it’s not terrible. Personally, I think there are only a pair of quarterbacks who are obviously worth a first round selection, and those are the obvious in LSU’s Joe Burrow and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa. Other those those two, I’m not incredibly high on any other quarterback in this draft if it requires spending a first round pick (and that’s for any team, not just the New Orleans Saints.

But while NFL.com acknowledged the decision of Drew Brees to return for another year, it omitted the rumor that the Saints plan on using a first round tender on QB/etc. Taysom Hill. If Sean Payton and the Saints staff have this much faith in Hill, I would be incredibly surprised to see them use a first round pick on another quarterback.

To the point about Brees playing another year, it also seems like the obvious route should be to use your assets to give Brees the best shot at trying to win a Super Bowl this year as opposed to using a first round pick to prepare for after Brees is gone. Although CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, and Tee Higgins were all off the board at 24, there were still plenty of wide receivers that made their way to the early second round.

Baylor’s Denzel Mims went 33rd overall to the Cincinnati Bengals, LSU’s Justin Jefferson went 40th overall to the Arizona Cardinals, Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk went one pick later to the Cleveland Browns, and Colorado’s Laviska Shenault went 44th overall to the Indianapolis Colts.

If the Saints had a second round pick and the benefit of hindsight in this mock draft, I could absolutely get behind spending the first round pick in a quarterback if Payton truly believes in that quarterback as a potential franchise player and then trading up in the second round to grab one of the wide receivers (Justin Jefferson, anyone?) listed above.

And although the Saints didn’t add LSU’s Justin Jefferson in this mock, they did add a different former Tiger, LSU’s DT Rashard Lawrence II in the third round, 88th overall.

But without hindsight, without knowing how the board will play out, and without a second round pick, it’s probably wise to use the 24th overall selection on the best player available that gives the Saints a chance to win in 2020.