Day two of the NFL draft has finished. The New Orleans Saints second day was much less dramatic than the first, with just one pick taking place. With the 49th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Saints selected cornerback Alontae Taylor out of Tennessee. Taylor will likely play a hybrid safety and corner type role for the Saints defense. He was who the Saints wanted going into night two of the draft and the team was able to get their guy. With the offensive line, wide receiver, and secondary addressed, the Saints are sitting in a good spot to take best player available on day three.
Saints looking at best available player on day three
The Saints have one pick in the fifth and sixth round on day three of the NFL draft. These picks are at 161 and 194, respectively. The Saints could also package both of these picks and likely move up to the bottom of round four if a player from their board falls that far. This means that there are dozens of good players available for the team. Although best player available is likely the course of action on day three, there are still several positions that need some depth for the team. Tight end, running back, and linebacker are all positions of interest for day three.
Give Jameis Winston more weapons
Tight end was a highly studied position for the Saints during the pre-draft process. The Saints visited with two different day three tight ends. Isaiah Likely from Coastal Carolina has intrigued a lot of teams. The 6’5, 245 pounder is more of a pure pass-catcher. His blocking will need a lot of work, but the Saints coach line play incredibly well. Cade Otton out of Washington will also be an intriguing player who can block and catch well enough. The best two tight ends on the board might be Daniel Bellinger from San Diego State and Charlie Kolar from Iowa State. Kolar is a massive figure at 6’7 with long arms who could be a dangerous weapon over the middle of the field. Any of these tight ends would be a welcome addition to the Saints offense.
Running back is another area of need for the Saints. Due to some off-field issues for Alvin Kamara, the expectation is a suspension for the perennial superstar. Behind Kamara, the Saints are thin and aging. Mark Ingram is in the building, but he is not able to be a three down back anymore. Day three is a great time to find a running back to fill the gap. Very few running backs have been taken so far. Zamir White out of Georgia is still available. The 6’0, 214 pound back is a solid runner but was not asked to be on the field during passing downs much in college. One running back who is comfortable catching passes is D’Vonte Price from Florida International. Price is a project player but one who has incredible potential. Likewise, Ty Chandler from North Carolina is a project who has shown flashes of being a diverse running back. There are several between-the-tackle type running backs available as well including Jerome Ford, Pierre Strong Jr., and Hassan Haskins.
Depth at linebacker
One of the thinnest positions on the Saints is at linebacker. It is not likely that the Saints will find a meaningful starter on day three, but Demario Davis needs some help. There are several big names still on the board going into day three though. Brandon Smith out of Penn State might be the best remaining and could have easily been a day two pick. Smith can do everything asked of him at inside linebacker. If the Saints want a linebacker who can be used more against the rush, Darrian Beavers from Cincinnati and D’Marco Jackson from Appalachian State would be good additions. Two intriguing names will be Malcolm Rodriguez out of Oklahoma State and Damone Clark from LSU. Rodriguez is a former safety who transitioned to linebacker. He is a bit undersized to be pure run defender but his range and ability to cover could be highly useful in today’s NFL. Unfortunately for Clark, he underwent spinal fusion surgery recently and is expected to miss the entire 2022 season. Clark would be a pick for the future. If the Saints are happy with their current rotation at linebacker, Clark would be a great selection for next season.
Grade the Saints day one:
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Best of the rest
If none of these positions are available when the Saints hit the clock, best player available will likely be the choice no matter the position. Sam Howell fell out of the first two days and still awaits a team. Zach Tom and Jamaree Salyer are interior offensive linemen who could fit well into the Saints rotation. Having more weapons has been shown by other teams to be a key to success. Wide receiver still has a few intriguing names like Khalil Shakir and Justyn Ross. Let’s not forget the defense either though. A deep defensive line rotation keeps players fresh. Perrion Winfrey, Neil Farrell Jr., and Matthew Butler will all be selected on day three. Each can step into a rotation and hopefully develop into a contributor quickly.