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2020 NFL Draft: Grading the Saints’ trade and selection of TE Adam Trautman

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The Saints sacrificed a lot for the Dayton tight end, so was it worth it?

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Channeling a more measured Mike Ditka, the Saints made a shocking deal with the Minnesota Vikings on Friday, trading away effectively the rest of the 2020 NFL Draft to select Dayton’s Adam Trautman. While this is by no means a Ricky Williams redux, it’s the most in-your-face example of the Saints seeking best player available in this draft for what may end up being Drew Brees’ last ride.

It’s a bit of a stunner that Trautman was still available at No. 105, though the shock wears off once it’s acknowledged that the first tight end — Cole Kmet — wasn’t off the board until the 43rd pick. Leading up to drafting Trautman, three tight ends were drafted between picks 91 and 101, two of them by the Patriots, which likely contributed to the Saints’ sense of urgency in getting back into the third round.

Looking at Trautman himself, the Saints got a tremendous talent to go alongside Jared Cook and Josh Hill (and Taysom Hill, if you count him). At Dayton, the tight end dominated Atlantic-10 competition, and he saw a massive jump from his junior to senior year. Trautman caught 70 passes for 916 yards and 14 touchdowns, and at 6-feet-5-inches and 255 lbs., Trautman will give Brees a big red zone target to complement Cook, who thrives in the open field.

All things told, this isn’t much different than the Marcus Davenport trade in 2018 if you’re looking at pick value. The Saints traded up twice in Day 2, so if a player really jumps off the page to them on Day 3 they may look to get back in by dipping into the 2021 honeypot. However, with limited space on their roster and three players in their Top 40 from this draft on it, Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton will likely kick back and watch the scramble, hedging their bets on undrafted free agency to lock in another receiver.

Adam Trautman Pick Grade: B+

The only reason this isn’t an A is because there will always be some concern about giving up an entire day of drafting for an Atlantic-10 product. With Trautman’s potential, however, he could make even this grade look silly extremely quickly.