You had to know that one day, down the line, an article such as this one was on the way.
As the NFL Draft approaches, and the CSC staff sits back and looks at a legendary, record-shattering year in LSU football history, I couldn’t help but think— just what would a Saints draft class composed of all LSU players look like in 2020?
Now, of course, we all know that the Saints don’t often draft those who have donned the purple and gold of LSU— much less a whole draft class composed of them. But what if they did?
Well, fortunately, the options are widespread and plenty, with over 10 LSU players labeled as commonly having draft-worthy status, and even more with the possibility of being labeled as “sleepers” in the class, worthy of late-round picks. That being said, the LSU class of 2020 is pretty top-heavy, with the likes of 5 or more players with first-round draft grades.
In order to get the cream of the crop of LSU grads in his year’s 2020 class wearing the black and gold for this upcoming NFL season (other than trading every pick for the next three years to the Bengals for Joe Burrow), moves will have to be made to fill positions of need.
Let’s take a look at what a Saints draft class could look like, if we’re only selecting prospects owing their collegiate alumnus to good ole Baton Rouge.
Round 1 Pick 24 – Justin Jefferson, WR
I’m going to reason with you here before we go any further: this is probably the most likely pick that we’ll encounter at any time during this draft, and even now—it’s a bit of a stretch.
Jefferson may well not fall this far down the draft board, but it’s still the most likely pick that we’re working with here today as he forms the the next piece in what could prove to be one of the best wide receiver rooms in the NFC, or perhaps the NFL.
Jefferson is the first LSU player picked off of our board here. You can find out more about him here. but let me break down a brief summary of his skillset for you. Jefferson is a born and bred Louisiana native who could fit into the Saints system almost seamlessly. He’s an electric talent, scoring from all over the field, beating defenders with NFL-ready route running, and the speed he showcased at this year’s NFL Combine.
LSU’s offense, via Joe Brady, borrowed a lot of concepts from New Orleans, and Sean Payton’s game should be an easy adaptation for the talented young man from Destrehan.
Y’all ready to have some fun?
Let’s keep going.
TRADE – New Orleans receives Pick No. 34 for 2021 2nd, 2020 4th
Round 2 Pick 35 (Seattle) – Patrick Queen, LB
In order to facilitate a draft strictly coming from the state’s flagship school in the LSU Tigers, you have to adjust to the fact that a majority of the 10+ players that could be drafted from the school this year, will go early in the draft. It speaks to the talent of the team that in order to draft enough players to fill a draft (at reasonable premiums), we’ll have to trade up a few times. Here’s the first of those occasions.
The New Orleans Saints give up next year’s second in order to move back into the early second round, and get what is an LSU fan’s—and likely a Saints fan’s—dream: drafting both Justin Jefferson and Patrick Queen.
Queen slides right into the lineup, pairing up with Demario Davis and forming a rangey, hard-hitting linebacker duo to aid in solidifying the Saints defense.
The Saints pick up another Louisiana native, bringing in the former Livonia High School star as they trade into the early second, thanks to a convenient fall for Queen (for our drafting purposes, specifically). It’s a deal too good to resist, while also keeping our LSU-drafting spree alive.
TRADE – New Orleans receives pick No. 66 (Washington) for pick No. 88 and 2020 6th
Round 3 Pick 66 – Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB
I’m going to be straight up here—with the way that Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s draft stock has risen, even in the past month, him being available in the third round seems unlikely.
That being said, this is a draft full of 2nd and 3rd round talent, and with how the running back position has become devaluated, yes—I’m saying there’s a chance. Edwards-Helaire would fill out a Saints running back class to the brim, adding yet another rushing and receiving threat to what is already shaping up to be a deadly Saints offense.
After swapping thirds with the Redskins, the Saints are officially all in on this specific year’s draft—if you plan for the now and for the future, what use are draft picks?
In a spread offense at LSU that steamrolled opponents, Edwards-Helaire aligned in the slot in empty sets, and with proactive athleticism for the RB position, he gives Sean Payton and Co. another flexible tool to utilize, with plenty of home-run potential. His route running is good, and some (me) have even given player comps to the likes of Mark Ingram.
I think we all remember how well Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara worked together.
If he’s there, it’s a deal for the Saints, who flip picks at the expense of a sixth-rounder in a draft that lacks significant immediate production at the end stages.
TRADE – New Orleans receives pick No. 121 (Oakland) for pick No. 169 and 2021 4th
Round 4 Pick 121 – Thaddeus Moss, TE
With a majority of the Saints’ current tight end room eventually going to be hanging up the laces in a matter of years, and the contractual and playing position of Taysom Hill unknown, it may not be a bad idea for the Saints to start looking for a tight end threat to pair with Drew Brees now, and another quarterback later.
Thaddeus Moss currently projects as a traditional in-line tight end prospect who will definitely have a solid shot at earning a starting spot on an NFL Roster down the line, and would be a steal of a pick in the fourth for the Saints, who in our draft, trade back up into the round after sending their pick away earlier.
Moss is a more effective blocker than omst thought, and has a dense frame to pair with an ability to powerfully punch away rushers. Pair that with great hands and plus ability to catch outside of his frame, and he fits well in a Saints offense that values the traditional block-and-catch tight ends.
Though he won’t be a huge threat to break away, he provides another big threat for a dink-and-dunk style of passing, as well as a go up and get it threat downfield.
For a fourth round pick, the Saints solidify a position of need at the current moment, and for down the line, finishing off their all-LSU draft class for the year 2020.
Who would you have taken, or what trades would you have made when constructing the Saints’ dream LSU class for the year 2020?