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Saints start questionably, but finish strong in latest 3-round mock for ESPN

I can get behind everything after Round 1.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

We’re getting closer and closer to the 2021 NFL Draft.

ESPN draft analysts Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay decided to have a little fun in a recent three-round mock draft (Insider required), with each analyst alternating picks for the entire three rounds. Here’s how it went for the New Orleans Saints:

28. New Orleans Saints

McShay’s pick: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

If Jameis Winston and/or Taysom Hill are going to have any sort of success, they need receiver reinforcements. Bateman makes tough catches in the middle of the field and is versatile.

Bateman’s chances of being available here: 68.9%

The first round went absolutely horribly for the New Orleans Saints in this mock draft. Alabama CB Patrick Surtain, Penn State LB Micah Parsons, South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn, Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, TCU S Trevor Moehrig, Kentucky LB Jamin Davis, Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley, and Northwestern CB Greg Newsome II were all off the board.

Not going cornerback here in round one is a big issue, especially considering Sean Payton has already admitted it is his first thought when thinking about team needs, but there admittedly wasn’t much on the board here. Still, I’d be hard pressed to go wide receiver in the first round considering how deep the class is. Tusla LB Zalen Collins is still available (he goes two picks later in this mock to the Buffalo Bills), but McShay and Kiper address linebacker with their next pick (spoiler alert). I think in this scenario I’d rather trade back or grab Florida State CB Asante Samuel, Jr., who went 40th overall in this mock.

60. New Orleans Saints

McShay’s pick: Jabril Cox, LB, LSU

Rashod Bateman checks the WR box, and now Cox gives the defense an impact inside linebacker who is excellent in coverage.

This pick should give the Saints-LSU fans something to be happy about.

I have no problems with this pick at all, and I think it’s both a great value and a clear team need considering the losses of Kwon Alexander and Alex Anzalone.

98. New Orleans Saints

McShay’s pick: Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford

Cornerback depth is already lacking in New Orleans, and it could get a lot worse if Marshon Lattimore departs in free agency next March. Adebo is a ball hawk with eight interceptions and 29 passes broken up over 22 career games.

This is too late to grab a Week 1 starting cornerback in my opinion. I’d much rather have gone CB in round one and then WR here, maybe picking Wake Forest WR Sage Surratt (who went 103rd overall), or better still, an offensive weapon like UCLA’s WR-RB hybrid Demetric Felton.

105. New Orleans Saints

Kiper’s pick: Dayo Odeyingbo, DE, Vanderbilt

Odeyingbo has an intriguing skill set as a 285-pound defensive end, and the Saints need to find defensive help through the draft. Former first-round pick Marcus Davenport hasn’t put it all together yet. Odeyingbo likely would have gone much higher if he hadn’t torn his Achilles in January.

I have no problem with this pick either. Drafting for upside is one of the things you have to do as you get to the back end of the third round, so this is fine. All thing equal, though, and I might have picked Ole Miss tight end Kenny Yeboah, who went undrafted in this three-round mock.

But what do you think? Is this a mock draft you’d be happy with? Would my revisions make it better or worse? Let me know in the comments. Send me presents.

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