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2020 NFL Draft: Grading the Saints’ trade and selection of QB Tommy Stevens

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It’s exciting if nothing else.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Penn State Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

No way anyone really expected that the Saints would sit on their hands the entirety of the NFL Draft’s final day, right? Because of course not. New Orleans had traded away all of their day three selections in order to move up to the bottom of the second round to second Dayton tight end and playmaker Adam Trautman. In doing so, they began the final day of the 2020 draft without any selections, but that did not last for long.

The Saints traded back into the draft in round seven by using a 2021 sixth-round selection. That is not at all a steep price to pay as New Orleans is in line to receive a compensatory pick in that round next season due to the departure of A.J. Klein. That means that despite trading away both next year’s third and sixth round selections, they should still be able to have a pick in each round of the 2021 draft. For now.

In trading up, they were able to get Houston’s 240th overall selection and grab an intriguing prospect in Mississippi State quarterback Tommy Stevens.

While quarterback may have been the anticipated target here, Tommy Stevens may have been one of the further names away from most minds. Washington St. signal caller Anthony Gordon, who was popular among mocks and Saints fans alike, was still on the board and many expected him to be the selection.

So why Tommy Stevens? Well, the Saints have clearly have a vision for the athletic Taysom Hill-like prospect.

“We kind of have a vision that’ll start with quarterback, but a little bit much like Taysom.” - Sean Payton

According to PFF’s Saints-focused twitter, the former Mississippi State and Penn State prospect lined up all over the field during his collegiate career. Including taking snaps at slot receiver. He was most diversely used while with Penn State where he registered all 14 of his career catches, focusing down a bit to a dual-threat QB with the Bulldogs. Payton speaks highly of Steven’s athleticism and he put it on full display at his Pro Day recording some impressive numbers at 6-foot-5 and 237 pounds.

Tommy Stevens Pick Grade: C+

This selection really comes down to more potential than anything. What Stevens brings to the table can be exciting, but can he put it all together to find work in the Taysom Hill slasher role? The answer may not even be seen next year as it seems Taysom will maintain his offensive service for the 2020 season. But it has been hinted that Hill will take a step back in special teams sooner rather than later. That could open up the first look at Tommy Stevens in 2020. Coach Payton specifically mentioned that Stevens’ skillset should help him get involved in the kicking game. Meanwhile he can spend the year polishing the rest of his offensive contribution in practice or certain game situations.

There is a lot of potential here, but best not to get hopes up on his translation of those skills to the NFL until there is more to be seen. It does speak to Payton’s vision for the Saints in the future. Having Taysom Hill’s role in the offense is important enough for him to insure another team was not able to get ahold of Stevens. If he pans out, it means that post-Brees with Taysom Hill at quarterback, the Saints would still have a serviceable slasher in their offense. On the other hand, if Taysom Hill ever finds his way off of the Saints’ roster for any reason, they have another potential swiss army knife in development.

On the personal side, Stevens showed that has a pretty nice since of humor in this video doing a mock interview with WR Juwan Kennings, who was also signed by the Saints in undrafted free agency.