With the 2023 NFL Draft just a few days away now, everybody wants to know who their favorite team is taking in the first round, but few people are thinking about rounds 2-7. So, today we’re going to take a look at some late round prospects the New Orleans Saints could select in this year's NFL Draft.
Going into this, I’m assuming the Saints take a defensive tackle in round one given it’s their biggest hole on the roster. With that being said, the Saints could look to beef up the defensive line even more, but this time on the edge. BJ Ojulari, Felix Anudike-Uzomah and Adetomiwa Adebawore are a few edge rushers who could come in and make an impact early and should be available in the second round.
Andre Carter from Army is another intriguing edge prospect that could fall to the Saints in the third or maybe even fourth round. Carter had a ridiculously good 2021 season, recording 15.5 sacks and 4 FF, but in 2022, he kind of fell off. Carter recorded just 3 sacks in 2022 and just didn’t look like himself. That being said, Carter still has a lot of upside and with a mentor like Cam Jordan, he holds a lot of value if he finds his way into the third or fourth round.
The player I would love to see the Saints to draft at 40 is Drew Sanders. He’s a linebacker out of Arkansas who could fill Kaden Ellis’ spot perfectly. He’s elite at rushing the passer, totaling 9.5 sacks last season and he’s very sound in coverage. There have been rumblings about Sanders going before 40, but if he does fall, the Saints couldn’t get to the podium fast enough to draft Sanders.
Dorian Williams from Tulane is another linebacker to keep an eye on. He’s a projected mid round pick and he is electric to watch. He has 4.49 speed and is one of the best coverage backers in this class. If the Saints don’t take a linebacker in the first two rounds, Williams would be a very solid addition in the third or fourth round.
Despite a lot of analysts saying the Saints could take a tight end in the first or second round, this is one of the deepest TE classes in a while, and I think they might sit and wait until later to draft one. Sam LaPorta is the first guy the Saints should look at. He’s a little undersized, but he has elite speed and agility at the TE position. Tucker Kraft is another TE who could be available at 71. He’s a lot like LaPorta, a little undersized, but has great speed and agility to make him a downfield threat. Both lack pass blocking skills, but recently resigned Juwan Johnson is a very sound blocker at TE, so having someone who can stretch the field would be a huge asset.
Luke Schoonmaker could potentially fall into day three because of how many great TE there are this year. Any other year, I think he would be one of the best TE in his class. He’s 6’1 and has 4.63 speed, and for a tight end, that’s fast. He’s also a solid run blocker despite being smaller than other tight ends. If Schoonmaker makes it to round four or five, don’t be surprised to hear his name called when the Saints are picking.
It’s no secret the Saints need to get younger at running back, especially with Kamara’s potential suspension looming. That being said, this is a very deep running back class and there is a lot of value in the late rounds.
Personally, Tyjae Spears from Tulane is my favorite late round prospect. He is so dynamic and explosive and can do so many things out of the backfield. Spears is projected to go in the third or fourth round, and I think whoever lands him is getting a steal. Same goes with Michigan’s Zach Charbonnet. Both backs excel in the open field and in pass catching and would fit perfectly with how the Saints like to use their backs.
Kenny McIntosh is another name to watch for as the Saints met with him in the pre-draft process. He is CBS’s 258th ranked prospect, so he could be available in the sixth or seventh round. He helped lead Georgia to their second consecutive national championships, totaling 1,334 yards this season. He’s not as dynamic as the other two backs mentioned, but he’s worth a sixth or seventh round pick if the Saints don’t select a running back earlier.
I don’t see the Saints using a pick on a quarterback earlier than the sixth or seventh round, but there are a few very interesting late round QBs who should still be on the board on day three.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson is probably the biggest wild card at QB in this draft. He was explosive running and throwing at UCLA, and he could go anywhere from round five to seven. I don’t know how NFL scouts view DTR, but his athleticism makes him someone to consider with a late round pick.
Malik Cunningham is a very similar prospect to DTR. He’s uber athletic and gives Lamar Jackson vibes. Obviously, he is not nearly as complete a prospect as Jackson was, but for a seventh-round pick, he could be worth the gamble.
There are also two CFB Playoff QBs who might not even get drafted. Max Duggan and Stetson Bennett are both veterans who played at least four years in college and made the national championship in 2022. There are reasons these guys aren’t projected to go early, but there aren’t many guys this year who have experience playing in as many big games as these two have.
The Saints won’t find themselves getting one of the top four QBs this year, but if they want to bring another QB into camp, any of these four guys could be someone to watch in the seventh round or even as an undrafted free agent.
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