In this new mock draft released by Sports Betting Dime, the unique factor is the process by which selections were made. This mock compiled NFL Draft odds from all of the major sportsbooks to create a first round simulation. As the piece explains:
The props considered include, but are not limited to: odds to be a top 5/10 pick, player draft position over/unders, odds to be first player taken at each position, first round position totals, offense or defense with first pick for each team etc.
According to SBD, in 2020, the website’s mock correctly predicted 8 of the top 13 picks and 23 of the 32 players selected in the first round. They also predicted that Jordan Love would be drafted following a trade up, but not even they could see what the Green Bay Packers would inevitably, and questionably, decide to do.
Take that hit-rate for what you will, but heading into any NFL Draft is incredibly hard to predict. So, seeing something this unique stirs excitement. In addition to the first-round selections they mocked, they also executed trades to be sure players landed where their projected draft positions were and did so to teams with that positional need . This includes a trade back into the opening round by the Atlanta Falcons at 31st overall to land running back Najee Harris.
An ill-advised running back selection in the first, but get that fifth-year option, I guess.
As for the New Orleans Saints, after seeing some positive targets like cornerbacks Greg Newsome II and Caleb Farley come off the board, they stood pat at pick 28 overall and land LSU wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr.
One player the #Bears could target in a potential Round 1 trade down is LSU WR Terrace Marshall Jr.— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) April 8, 2021
He’s a big guy at 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds with 4.4 speed who can win vertically and on the 50-50 ball. A bit raw, but his ceiling is massive. pic.twitter.com/lk6lyaiO92
According to Pro Football Focus, even after the incredible 2019 Tigers season led by quarterback Joe Burrow, Marshall put up a 150+ passer rating when targeted more than 10 yards downfield and brought down 25 of 41 contested catches.
His 6-foot-2, 202-pound frame is nearly perfect for the Saints’ height-weight prototype, and some of the odds that factored into SBD’s selection are pretty clear. Firstly, the Saints have a wide receiver position open opposite Michael Thomas following the departure of Emmanuel Sanders. One that can indeed be competed for by in-house options like Tre’Quan Smith, however, there’s no foregone successor at this time. Considering then that the Saints are very likely to be considered an offense-first team with their opening selection, the receiver position looks like an obvious target.
Finally, with the big three receivers off the board, including Marshall’s college teammate Ja’Marr Chase, and the selection of Minnesota receiver Rashod Bateman to the Baltimore Ravens the selection before, Marshall carries the odds to be the fifth wideout selected in the draft. This selection takes into account need, average draft position, and draft tendencies, without too much stock in the school name on the helmet.
Most Saints fans scoff at the idea of the New Orleans Saints selecting LSU Tigers in the draft, even though they’ve typically done so at just about the same rate as any NFL team with their biggest in-state school. It is also worth considering that one of their most successful draft selections from Death Valley was a wide receiver with Devery Henderson.
With LSU’s offensive reawakening, running schemes similar to those historically run by Sean Payton’s Saints offenses, perhaps the time is again right. Especially with the possibility of Jameis Winston under center in 2021.
Marshall’s size got some attention earlier, but let’s not go without his athletic testing as well. With the numbers posted from LSU’s earlier Pro Day (they have another scheduled for April 26th) Marshall posted a 9.76 RAS score, not far behind his Tiger teammate Ja’Marr Chase.
WR #RAS leaders 2021:— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 13, 2021
Jacob Harris, UCF 9.88
Ja'Marr Chase, LSU 9.81*
Terrace Marshall, LSU 9.76
Jalen Camp, GT 9.75
Nico Collins, Michigan 9.56
Tarik Black, Texas 9.55
Rondale Moore, Purdue 9.33
Michael Strachan, Charleson 9.22
Simi Fehoko, Stanford 9.17 pic.twitter.com/FkKv2TmDY8
Left on the board in this mock by the Saints were linebackers Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Zaven Collins as well as cornerback Eric Stokes of Georgia who has been a popular mock selection to New Orleans. Perhaps had the odds thought the Saints were go defense with their first selection, one of them would have been the choice at 28.
So, will the Saints select an LSU player in this year’s draft? Will the go offense or defense first? Will they even stand pat and wait until 28th overall to make their selection? We won’t know until the first round of the NFL draft, now less than two weeks away. In any case, this was a very creative way to explore possibilities for this year’s first round.
Let us know what you think of this selection for the Saints. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC , “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @RossJacksonNOLA and subscribe to my daily Saints podcast, Locked On Saints.