The New Orleans Saints have the 29th overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft which was acquired via the Sean Payton trade with the Denver Broncos. We recently ran a poll on Twitter where 64% of voters said we should stick with picking at 29.
So, let’s look at the 3 best options that the Saints should go with at number 29.
Looking ahead to the draft, the Saints currently hold the 29th pick. What would you like to see them do with it and why?— Canal St. Chronicles (@SaintsCSC) March 18, 2023
Ranked in no particular order:
1. Zay Flowers WR- The Saints have already met with the receiver from Boston College twice over dinner as the draft has inched closer. Flowers is as close as you will get to a Deebo Samuel type player in this draft. He is deceptively quick especially off the line and would be best used as a slot/hybrid role guy. He is slightly undersized but uses his quickness off the line and good sidestep to beat press. While his route running is not great technically, they are fast and full throttle. This kid is pedal to the metal all game long for 60 mins. In 2022, he showed his true versatility with 78 catches for 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns, which was tied for 5th in the country. He also ran for 40 yards on 12 carries and had 7 punt returns. His biggest concern going forward would be drops. Throughout his college career he had a 10.3% drop rate, something that must be cleaned up if he is to reach his full potential. Where Flowers excels the best is after the catch as he uses his speed and shiftiness in open space to make big plays. He did all of this with a shaky QB room as starter Phil Jurkovec was injured for most of 2 seasons ago and some of last season. If drafted to the right situation, where he can refine his routes and focus on slowing down before catching the ball, Flowers has that Deebo potential.
Writer preference: 90% Probability: 15%
2. Lukas Van Ness- He is a phenomenal talent and can rush the passer from the edge or slide inside and stop the run. The dude is the perfect end if you went to a lab and built one. He is 6’5, 275 pounds with very long arms. Van Ness as a rotation player during his freshman year had 7 sacks and 8.5 TFLs, all while never starting for Iowa. His redshirt sophomore year (this past season) he was everywhere again with 10.5 TFLs and 6 sacks. Again, all this while only being a rotational piece. With the right system and defensive coordinator/HC (hello DA) this kid has the potential to be that guy off the edge. Van Ness on top of being prototypical size has great athleticism and bend, highlighted by his combine and the tape. The toolbox is all there for whoever drafts him but the team that does will have to work on a couple of things and refine his game if he truly wants to become that dude. While good on the interior situational, he does tend to lack drive in his legs and his pass rushes will almost ran out of gas at times. Van Ness hasn't developed much in terms of a pass rushing arsenal of moves as he tends to win with pure athleticism and power right now. While a decent run defender, he can be bullied at times, which with someone at his size shouldn't be. If the Saints are willing to gamble on the potential and athleticism, Van Ness has that in spades.
Writer preference: 75% Probability: 35%
3. Jahmyr Gibbs- Gibbs was absolutely electric during his time at Georgia Tech before transferring to Alabama for this past season. His freshman year at GT, Gibbs had 460 yards rushing for 4 TDs and 300 yards receiving for 3 TDs while only playing in 7 games. In 2021, he followed that up with 750 yards rushing for 4 TDs and 465 yards receiving with 2 scores. He transferred to Alabama for the 2022 season and was even more dynamic. He led the Crimson Tide in receiving for most of the year with 444 yards and 3 touchdowns and ran for 926 yards with 7 TDs. Gibbs is extremely twitchy and hard to tackle in open space and between the LOS. He has great speed which makes sense considering his tape and his 4.36 combine 40. Oh, did I mention he is also a kick and punt returner, I mean this kid is special. Where he struggles at times is in his decision making and decisiveness in between the tackles. He has great wiggle in the open field but between the tackles he can sometimes rely on dancing too much instead of just attacking the hole. While he is extremely dangerous as a pass catcher, he tends to miss pass blocking assignments and doesn't truly have the best size to be able to consistently pick up blitzes or take the hits to get short yards. Even at Alabama, Jase McClellan was used as the short yardage back which did hurt the true production of Gibbs, from a numbers point. While he may never be a great goal line back or a great pass protector, Gibbs explosiveness and all-around impact on the game fair outweigh his negatives. With an Alvin Kamara suspension looming and the inevitable slowing down that we see from the running back position, the Saints would be wise to draft Gibbs to rotate and eventually replace AK41.
Writer preference: 100% Probability: 40%