We have the official draft order! That’s how close we are getting to the NFL draft. I can almost taste it. For now, let’s run through a mock scenario using all of the picks we officially have.
As always, I’m using the superior mock draft simulator, profootballnetwork.com, for these.
1.28 LB Baron Browning, Ohio State
Ohio State has brought us some of our favorite Saints, why not another one? I am in love with Browning’s play at the linebacker position. With the Kwon Alexander gone, and the Saints seeing what it was like to have a very good WILL linebacker, there needs to be someone to replace his impact. Browning could replace it, and potentially be an improvement. WILL isn’t is only place to play. He could eventually become a candidate to replace the Demario Davis role in a couple of years. He is athletic enough to cover running backs and tight ends, has high enough football IQ read plays and shoot gaps, and doesn’t give up the size that most of these highly athletic linebackers do. Browning brings an immediate impact, and yet still has plenty more to add to his game to compete for the spot of a perennial All-Pro linebacker.
Look what we have here at middle linebacker #5 Baron Browning. Recognition, reaction, speed, and finish. pic.twitter.com/wT1OJGoeGQ— Johnny Bullet (@ScarletGreatJL) September 2, 2019
2.60 CB Eric Stokes, Georgia
Give me the SPEEEEED. Eric Stokes, more like Eric Smokes. Stokes is fast, do you get it yet? He brings more than a 40-time to the table, however. He has great ball skills, can perform in both man or zone, is a willing tackler. The Saints need to find a new running mate for Marshon Lattimore, and finding Stokes in the second could be a great answer. He is a little light, but that doesn’t seem to be much of a hindrance for him. He created turnovers, but still was able to make plays on the ball and be disruptive when not picking it off. A secondary with Marshon and Stokes on opposite sides with Marcus Williams playing the deep safety would be the best deep ball protection that New Orleans has seen in years.
3.98 QB Davis Mills, Stanford
Davis Mills is extremely interesting. I have started to watch more of him, and I’m starting to see it. He has a lot of good in his game, but also shows need for improvement for a lot of them as well. He has a big arm, that is inconsistent with accuracy at times. He has good decision making and reads through his progressions well, however he would take too long at times. He’s big and fast, but doesn’t seem like he knows how to use his body sometimes. He his a high ceiling, low floor kind of player. With the Saints having Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston under contract, he would not have to see the field this season. They do not seem to be overly confident in either of those two on the roster already, so why not throw a dart at the board and take a chance on what could be a very good quarterback.
Stanford QB Davis Mills just ran a 4.58 40 yard dash— WestCoastCFB (@WestCoastCFB) March 18, 2021
For reference, Jake Locker ran 4.59 and Justin Herbert ran 4.68
3.105 WR D’Wayne Eskridge, Western Michigan
Taking a look at the meetings that the Saints have taken so far, they’re looking for a new type of wide receiver. A speed demon. Looking to bring a Brandin Cooks type back into the offense full time. D’Wayne Eskridge is one of the best options for that in the draft, so getting him at 105 would be fantastic value. He is a better route runner than Cooks ever was. He creates a lot of room, and usually comes down with footballs at a high rate because of it. He has good hands, tracks the ball well. Runs like a running back after the catch. It could be fun to see a Saints QB able to take advantage of a threat to make a big/deep play on every snap.
4.133 OT Jaylon Moore, Western Michigan
Watching Eskridge brought me to his teammate Jaylon Moore frequently. He is a guy who can sit behind the Saints tackles and take over for one when they move on, or even switch inside. The Saints are definitely going to be taking a developmental OL in this draft, it just depends on where. Moore has a little bit of everything in his game, but isn’t a master of any of it. He is smart when taking on defenders, and doesn’t get beat often. Give him a year or two to develop, and he could become a special player.
Jaylon Moore has been one of my favorites thus far. Dominated from OT yesterday, and now shows great balance and hands from the interior pic.twitter.com/Gs3QcdEYnJ— Cory (@realcorykinnan) January 27, 2021
6.218 DL Khyiris Tonga, BYU
Here is where the Saints address a potential suitor for that Sheldon Rankins role. The Saints have a history of getting the job done with late round valued players and UDFAs, wouldn’t surprise me to see them try to strike gold with a player like Tonga. He will perform will immediately in run defense, he has a nasty bull rush. Last week I took Shelvin in the 3rd, this would be a much better value for basically the same kind of player. His bottom line would be a solid situational defender for New Orleans. Big players with flashes of great athleticism tend to do well for the Saints.
BYU NT Khyiris Tonga showing off his bull rush in a one-on-one with the center. Big dude with big power. pic.twitter.com/HZeLy4kVMN— Bobby Football (@Rob__Paul) June 25, 2020
7.229 WR Dez Fitzpatrick, Louisville
The Saints got their fast and flashy guy, but now let’s go back to the old school. Fitzpatrick is a bigger, stronger receiver than Eskridge. His physicality is the key to his game. Does a great job tracking the ball and making strong catches. He is a very good run blocker. Could definitely get a spot on the roster in special teams. He seems like the prototypical Saints overachiever.
7.255 TE John Bates, Boise State
I had to make this pick at some point. During the Senior Bowl, watching Bates play, all I could think of was that he is literally just Josh Hill. Now with Josh Hill gone, a need for that type of player on offense, Bates would be a solid pickup at the end of day 3. He is pushed to the end of the line in a draft class with a ton of very athletic tight ends. His talent will shine though, in the NFL, and will one day become a contributor somewhere. It’s just with tight ends, you never know when that time has come.
Notre Dame’s Ian Book starting to rip it. Nice throw from the pocket to Boise State TE John Bates.— Boom or Bust: The Draft Show (@BoomOrBustDraft) January 28, 2021
One of Book’s weaknesses is he isn’t decisive enough but on 3 straight snaps delivered the ball quickly and accurately. Good sign for Book’s draft stockpic.twitter.com/rOR8KyteoJ
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