With the retirement of Malcom Jenkins and departure of fellow starting safety Marcus Williams the New Orleans Saints are in particular spot as far as the safety spot is concerned. The team could move Chauncy Gardner-Johnson to safety full time or, re-sign free agent safety PJ Williams, or surprise us all and sign former LSU star safety Tyrann Mathieu. In the meantime let’s say the Saints do absolutely nothing and move to the draft in need of a safety. Lets see what the plan would be through the draft if the Saints chose this route. We will be using the PFF Mock Draft Simulator.
Round 1 Pick 18: Chris Olave - WR Ohio State
There are plenty of talented safeties in the later rounds of the NFL draft, however there is still no greater need than wide receiver for the Saints heading into the 2022 NFL Draft. I don’t feel like I need to explain why Olave makes the most sense at 18, and will make an immediate impact with the Saints.
Round 2 Pick 49: Kerby Joseph - S Illinois
Now this is where the Saints can make the safety pick to help replace Jenkins and Williams. I personally think Marcus Maye fits more of Malcom Jenkins game, sure can cover well but he also can play the run incredibly well and can play in the box much like Jenkins. Joseph is your Marcus Williams replacement, a true deep range/ball hawk safety who can “see ball get ball”. With a wingspan of 6’8” he really shined at the Senior Bowl. With 5 interceptions in 2021 Joseph makes too much sense at the 49th pick if he’s available.
Round 3 Pick 98: Zach Tom - OL Wake Forest
Zach Tom might just be the most versatile linemen in this years draft. Having played 34 games at Wake Forest as both left tackle and center, Tom can provide the necessary versatility that the Saints can use. With veteran James Hurst still in the fold and having proven last year he can play at a solid level, you give Tom the season to sit and play across the line when needed.
Round 3 Pick 101: Jalen Wydermyer - TE Texas A&M
Let’s have some fun with this draft class. Wydermyer was available at 101 and I thought it was simply too fun to pass up. He has all the physical things you love from a tight end. He could improve as a blocker, and hypothetically you move Trautman to the Josh Hill role and allow Wydermyer to open up this offense. Having a dominant receiving threat at tight end that teams will have to plan for is something the Saints have missed since the Jimmy Graham days. Wydermyer has all the traits and posses the skillset you want in a modern era tight end hands, speed, size, YAC, and potential.
Round 4 Pick 120: Traded back with the Steelers to 138 and gained pick 208
Round 4 Pick 138: Otito Ogbonnia - DL UCLA
Shoutout to Dylan Sanders who is doing great things over at SaintsWire, while we both were at the Senior Bowl UCLA defensive linemen Otito Ogbonnia flashed immediate potential in 1 on 1’s. Ogbonnia has an insane amount of lower body which also makes him an excellent tackler. His get off time is something to be admired as well. Ogbonnia in the fourth might be a little bit of a reach, but he does flash some potential.
Round 5 Pick 161: Danny Gray - WR SMU
Now I for one have been on the Danny Gray hype train since day 1. I’ve watched Gray since his beginning days at SMU in particular I’ve seen him torch my North Texas Eagles one to many times. Gray is a big play waiting to happen on any given snap, this speed is one of a kind seeing as he ran a 4.33 40 which was among the best in what was widely considered a very very speedy class. Gray’s endzone to endzone speed is one thing, however Gray also posses sideline to sideline speed and is very shifty. The former JUCO product can snag a ball away from defenders. When in the frame Gray more often than not comes down with the ball.
Round 7 Pick 237: Kalon Barnes - CB Baylor
Barnes of course set the NFL world ablaze with his 4.23 40 yard dash, which was not only the fastest time by a DB, it also was the second fastest 40 time in NFL history. A bit undersized, Barnes is a scrappy corner who plays aggressive on the line and is a very good tackler. The speed alone makes Barnes a interesting prospect, now 40 yard dash history making speed makes him worth the last pick in the Saints 2022 draft.
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