The New Orleans Saints should be able to head into the 2021 NFL Draft with the mentality of drafting the best player available. That’s not because the Saints are such a complete team that they don’t have a need at any particular position, but rather that the Saints have so many holes on the team that the best player available is likely an improvement on the Saints roster.
And while there are plenty of names the Saints could hope to take with the 28th spot in the first round, there are even more names the Saints should avoid. It would be silly to name all of the names of the players the Saints should avoid - they should definitely avoid drafting me with the 28th pick, for instance. But there is one name, one player who realistically would be on the board and at the top of some rankings depends on the list you’re looking at...one player the Saints should avoid at all costs.
Penn State defensive end Jayson Oweh.
Here’s what Mel Kiper had to say about Oweh when he mocked Oweh to the Saints in an earlier mock draft for ESPN (Insider required):
Yes, I’m projecting an edge rusher in Round 1 who had zero sacks last season. But turn on the tape. He pressured quarterbacks even if he didn’t close on them. And this is all about what I’m hearing Oweh is going to do at his pro day on March 25. There is a lot of buzz that he’s going to run a 4.4 40-yard dash at 255 pounds and wow coaches and scouts with his testing numbers. He is an extraordinary athlete with room to grow into a great player. Oweh made my preseason list of Big Ten prospects to monitor, and even though he didn’t put it all together, he has a high ceiling. The Saints, meanwhile, could lose Trey Hendrickson in free agency, creating a hole at defensive end.
A freakish athlete on the edge who has incredible quickness and moves significantly faster for his size than he should? A first round edge rusher who is being drafted just on projectability and not on college production? Does this sound like anyone the Saints have drafted recently? Maybe Marcus Davenport?
We’ve already tried the “draft on upside with a first round edge rusher” and we can see how it turned out. Davenport hasn’t performed so badly that we should already be throwing around the “bust” label, but to say he hasn’t lived up to expectations might still be a bit of an understatement.
The Saints are in a position where they’re not necessarily a Super Bowl-or-bust type of team, but that doesn’t mean they’re afforded the luxury of “wasting” their first round pick on someone with an incredibly low floor. The Saints need a sure thing in the first round, regardless of the position they draft. And Jayson Oweh is about as far from an NFL sure-thing as you can find.
Tanoh Kpassagnon. Carl Granderson. The aforementioned Marcus Davenport. The Saints already have plenty of lottery tickets at the defensive end position that could theoretically turn to the gold. They don’t need another. Oweh should be avoided at all costs.
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