With the NFL Draft only 45 days away, and free agency opening only 2 days from now, we have a lot to look forward to in the coming months of the offseason. The New Orleans Saints will be looking to fill roster gaps with both free agency and through the draft. So, before free agency begins, we put out this mock draft to fill as many needs as possible prior to having any knowledge of what they are going to do free agent wise.
Round 1 Pick #18 - Treylon Burks: WR, Arkansas
The first pick off the board for the Saints, in this mock draft is the receiver out of Arkansas University, Treylon Burks. The Saints are clearly in need of a receiver to place alongside Michael Thomas on the outside, and while many would mistake Burks for just another big receiver, this is not the case. Burks has everything in the physical aspects that you would want from a receiver, 6’2” and 225 pounds, as well as 33 1/2” arms and absolutely enormous hands at 9 7/8”. But he is not slow by any means for his size. Despite running a 4.55 40-yard dash, he shows quickness on the field to get behind cornerbacks at times.
While many Saints fans want to look to the faster receivers of the class, it is worth noting Burks as an option for New Orleans. Having an absolute mismatch like Treylon on the outside with Thomas drawing coverage off him would be a pairing that is almost impossible to cover. Burks has a relatively complete route tree as well, which bodes well for the Saints as they could run a lot of different packages with Burks and Thomas on the field.
#Arkansas WR Treylon Burks:— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) February 25, 2022
A blend of size, hands, and positional versatility. He has underrated straight line speed. Burks can run away from defenders and he showed that top end speed against Alabama. pic.twitter.com/wFxiFNS14P
Round 2 Pick #49 - Jalen Pitre: SAF, Baylor
Jalen Pitre would be a phenomenal pickup for the Saints if available in the second round. While he plays more like a strong safety, which the Saints have in Malcolm Jenkins, he has the versatility to move around a defense. He has been regarded for having great football intelligence, and as a great character to have in the locker room. With the Saints always trying to have the culture be as strong as possible, Pitre would seemingly be a great fit in that aspect. Another note is if the Saints were to lose Marcus Williams, and with Malcolm Jenkins getting up in age comparatively, having an option to play alongside Chauncey Gardner-Johnson at safety in the future would make this even more desirable.
Pitre as a player flies across the field, making plays in run support as well as pass rush in a similar manner to that of what Vonn Bell did for New Orleans a few seasons ago. He takes very good angles to the ball carrier which almost always puts him in a good position, and is able to read plays exceptionally well.
I’m a big fan of Baylor safety Jalen Pitre. His tape vs. BYU is some of the best that I’ve seen from a safety this year. Instincts, A+ awareness, and makes plays happen behind the line.— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) February 20, 2022
Biggest question mark was his consistency in coverage. He answered that at the Senior Bowl. pic.twitter.com/ZAelzLdxVc
- Pick 3.75
- Pick 3.100
- Pick 5.161
Round 3 Pick #75 - Isaiah Spiller: RB, Texas A&M
The New Orleans Saints trade up for this pick, trading picks 100 and 161 to get here. Reason being that as of right now, the Alvin Kamara situation is still ongoing, so the running back position is an unknown. With this, the Saints are committed to winning now clearly, so getting a running back who would both be great on his own as well as a compliment to Kamara is a no-brainer. Spiller is a bigger back at 6’0” 198, and plays exceptionally well between the tackles, finding lanes and hitting them with minimal hesitation. While he is not exceptionally elusive or shifty, his game pairs very well with the Saints due to their offensive line being very good. If Kamara returns, either now or later, pairing Isaiah with him would just make a great tandem.
Round 4 Pick #119 - Greg Dulcich: TE, UCLA
While we’re on the topic of complementing current players with draft picks, let’s do it again with UCLA TE Greg Dulcich. Dulcich is the vertical threat at TE that Saints fans have been desiring for awhile now, and with Adam Trautman taking up more of a blocking role this could open the window for more 2 TE sets. Greg is a former WR, which has given him a very diverse route tree and the capabilities the Saints need in a pure receiving tight end.
Round 4 Pick #137 - John Ridgeway: DT, Arkansas
Another Arkansas product? Sure, why not. Power, the one word that comes to mind when watching John Ridgeway. At an official 6 foot 4 and 3⁄4 he has good height for a nose tackle/0-tech, and weighs in at 327 pounds. He also measures in well for hand and arm size, at 10 1/4” and 33 5/8” respectively. The Saints have been needy for a big run stopping IDL for a few years now, especially so with Sheldon Rankins gone now. Ridgeway is that, pure power in his arms, legs and hands, as well as an extremely high motor for someone on the inside, bringing high effort every play. Nose tackle is not a glamorous pick most times, but man is Ridgeway impressive. Drawing double and even triple teams at times, he could translate very well to the next level.
Seems like a light enough box to run against.— Kendall Mirsky (@MirskyKendall) February 28, 2022
John Ridgeway says otherwise. He shows here why he commands double teams in the run game
Round 6 Pick #215 - Blaise Andries: OL, Minnesota
Minnesota offensive lineman Blaise Andries projects well as a versatile depth offensive lineman for the Saints, who could play a variety of positions. At 6’6” 308, he played offensive tackle at Minnesota and was relatively good at it, primarily being a run blocker and was solid at creating gaps for backs to get through. It would be assumed that Andries will be more primarily a guard at the next level though as he is not as laterally agile as one would hope from someone protecting the edges.
Round 7 Pick 236 - Velus Jones Jr.: WR, Tennessee
Velus Jones Jr. took it yards to the pic.twitter.com/iHGVOs5JRg— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 1, 2019
With the signing of Kodi Burns from Tennessee to be the Saints WR coach, why not bring in a receiver from Tennessee as well to learn from him. The Saints need more depth at receiver without a doubt, and if they intend on using Deonte Harty more as a receiver (granted they re-sign him this offseason) then they need someone to fill his returner role. While Velus Jones Jr. is not an exceptional route runner and much of his receptions were due to designed openings and not his route running, he could benefit from the Saints system. Putting receivers like Michael Thomas and in this case, Treylon Burks on the outside with Velus in the slot would be a matchup nightmare, as what Jones lacks in route running, he makes up for in YAC. Exceptional vision and good speed make him an open field nightmare for secondaries, to say the least.