Another day (well, in this case, another month) and another new mock draft as we can officially say the 2021 NFL Draft is this month. This time, Todd McShay of ESPN released a new two-round mock draft (Insider required).
In the first round, McShay gives the Saints an offensive playmaker from the middle of Saints country:
The cap-strapped Saints’ roster took a hit in March, with multiple impact players heading elsewhere for more money or, in the case of Drew Brees, retiring. Will it be Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill at quarterback — or both? Regardless, New Orleans has to have more weapons in the pass game, especially with Emmanuel Sanders and Jared Cook not coming back. Moore operates mainly out of the slot, and he has the hands and burst to pick up big chunks of yardage. He was second in the nation to DeVonta Smith in catches and yards last season.
If the Saints want a speeder wide receiver to catch Jameis Winston bombs, Elijah Moore is your guy.
WR Elijah Moore 40-yard dash: 4.34— Nick Suss (@nicksuss) March 25, 2021
After going offense in the first round, you would think McShay might give the Saints defense some help in the second round, but no - still on the offense, but this time the offensive line with pick #60:
Alex Leatherwood, OT/G, Alabama
The Saints don’t need an immediate walk-in-the-door-and-start lineman with their current unit, but there isn’t much depth there. Leatherwood can play multiple positions and could potentially step in at tackle if New Orleans isn’t able to re-sign Ryan Ramczyk before the 2022 season.
I get part of the rationale here as a potential replacement for Ramczyk, and the longer “Ram” goes without being extended the more concern I feel. But if push comes to shove, the team could theoretically apply the franchise tag on Ramczyk next year to ensure his services for at least another year. Considering the team’s needs at linebacker, cornerback, and defensive line, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Saints go offense-defense or defense-offense with their first two picks this year, but it’s certainly not outside of the realm of possibility that the Saints look to protect their quarterback of the future - whoever that may be.
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