With the 2020 NFL Draft just hours away, some of the biggest questions of the off-season are about to be answered. Before that happens though, we are going to take a look at positions that the New Orleans Saints may address through the draft. These positions will be ones that have little depth, or questions surrounding their future.
The Saints will likely be unable to address all positions of need through the draft process, but they can make key picks to help solidify those that are the most immediate or pressing.
The general consensus is that the linebacker position is the “biggest need” for New Orleans heading into the draft. Hence the reason why many, if not most, mock drafts have the Saints selecting one with their first-round pick. Outside of Demario Davis, Kiko Alonso,and Alex Anzalone there are no projected starters on the roster. Both Alonso and Anzalone are returning from injuries that derailed their 2019 season. Another name on the current squad is the unproven Kaden Elliss. It remains to be seen if any of the three linebackers outside of Davis will be able to handle a full season’s workload.
Addressing this need in the first-round would help solidify one of the positions with the biggest question marks heading into the 2020 season.
Possible first-round selections: Patrick Queen (LSU), and Kenneth Murray (Oklahoma).
A position being overlooked as a position of “need” is corner. With the departure of Eli Apple, Janoris Jenkins comfortably slots on as the number two corner. That being said, Jenkins is 31-years old, and does not represent the future of the position. With the elite corners that could be available in the draft, it is not unreasonable to wonder if New Orleans will select one in the first-round, especially if they are the best player available.
Furthermore, head coach Sean Payton has taken a secondary player every single year in the draft since his arrival in New Orleans. With the defensive back position so critically important in the Saints defensive scheme led by coordinator Dennis Allen, a corner being taken in the first-round seems quite plausible.
Possible first-round selections: C.J. Henderson (Florida), Kristian Fulton (LSU), Trevon Diggs (Alabama).
New Orleans has one of the better starting units in the league when it comes to the offensive line. Therefore any additions to the group through the draft would likely be to help cement depth, and prepare for potential future departures from any of the current starters.
Currently the Saints have Nick Easton and Will Clapp penciled in as quality depth pieces for the line. Yet it still almost seems certain that New Orleans will take someone in the middle rounds to help bolster the current squad, rather than using their first-round selection on the position.
Quarterback Drew Brees won’t be around forever, and many believe 2020 could be his final season. As such, you either believe that Taysom Hill is the future of the position in New Orleans or you believe that the Saints will take a shot on one during the 2020 NFL Draft with hopes of learning the system and offense this season.
It is unlikely that Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis take a quarterback in the first-round, but far crazier things have happened. This approach would indicate that New Orleans believes they are a complete squad heading into the 2020 season, but are maintaining an eye on the future post-Brees. Their approach to the off-season has indicated that this is not the case. However plenty of rumblings have been heard from the Saints taking a look at some of the more intriguing options that could be available at 24.
Possible first-round selections: Jordan Love (Utah State), and any of the general consensus top three quarterbacks that may fall to 24.
Prior to the signing of Emmanuel Sanders, the wide receiver position was by far the biggest need for New Orleans heading into 2020. Now, the Saints can afford to see what is available in the third-round, or even maneuver up or down to acquire one if they see fit. Sanders is 33-years old, and is an immediate boost to the offense, but is not a long-term solution. As such, New Orleans could do with adding a wideout in the draft that could grow into the future of the WR2 position.
This year’s draft class is incredibly deep at the position, and many pundits and evaluators have different feelings about each receiver and their ranking in the class outside of the top three. This leaves a lot of room for unknowns as to who could be available late in the first-round all the way to the third.
Possible first-round selections: Justin Jefferson (LSU), Brandon Aiyuk (Arizona State), any of the top three that may fall (Lamb/Jeudy/Ruggs).