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Should the Saints trade up in round one of the 2023 NFL Draft?

The Saints are reportedly looking to trade up in the first round of this years draft.

Clemson v Notre Dame Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Three things in life are guaranteed: death, taxes and pre-draft rumors that the New Orleans Saints are looking to trade up in round one of the NFL Draft.

Last night, SI’s Albert Breer reported that the Saints, Steelers and Chiefs are all looking to trade up in round one of this year's NFL Draft. So, the question is, should the Saints trade up this year? And who might they want to trade up for?

Let’s start with the obvious. The other day, it was reported the Saints were “digging deep” into Pitt Defensive Tackle Calijah Kancey. The 6’1, 281 Ib DT would fill a huge need for the Saints on the interior of the defensive line.

For a while, it seemed there was a good chance that Kancey would be there when the Saints pick at 29, but new reports have come out saying Kancey is generating “Top 20 buzz.” Could the Saints be trying to make a move to go get their guy? History says yes, but it would be bold to trade up for an undersized DT, even if he has major upside athletically.

If the Saints decide to go this route, the Lions at 18 seem like a perfect fit. They have already explored trading down, and that would put the Saints firmly in the top-20 with a real shot at landing Kancey.

But what if this is all a smokescreen and the Saints really want someone else? Possibly...a Defensive End?

Myles Murphy, Lukas Van Ness and Nolan Smith are three DEs I think the Saints would strongly consider making a move for if they start sliding. Murphy fits the prototypical Saints edge rusher. Coming in at 6’5, 268 pounds, he is very similar is size to recent Saints draftees Marcus Davenport and Payton Turner.

Van Ness is much like Miles Murphy in size. He measured in at 6’5, 272 and is a powerful force on the D-line. Van Ness can stand up and rush on the edge or move inside and be just as efficient against a guard. He’s very strong against the rush and uses his 4.58 speed to make plays in the backfield.

Nolan Smith on the other hand is a lot smaller than the typical Saints edge. He comes in at 6’2, 238, but he is an absolute unicorn at DE. He ran a 4.39 40-yard dash and recorded a 41.5 inch vertical at the NFL Combine. He is this years version of Travon Walker. He might take a few years to really figure things out, but he could become a QBs worst nightmare after learning from Cam Jordan for a couple seasons.

Alongside the Lions at 18, the Titans at pick 11 have also explored trading down, giving the Saints another potential trading spot in the top 20 if they want one of these edge rushers. I have also seen a few trade predictions that have the Patriots moving down from number 14. All three of these guys should be available in the early to late teens, so trading up with one of these three teams is well within the Saints reach.

Now, let’s have a little fun. There is a world where one of Tyree Wilson, Will Anderson or Jalen Carter start sliding. If Quarterback needy teams are higher on the top four QBs than we thought, we could see four QBs taken in the first five or six picks, leaving at least one of those three falling to seven or eight.

It would cost a lot to move into the top 10, but the Saints have done crazier things. If any of these three are available at pick seven, it’s worth calling the Raiders to see how much it would cost to move up to seven.

Carter, Anderson and Wilson are the cream of the crop for pass rushers in this draft, and if the Saints truly believe their only glaring hole in this roster another pass rusher, maybe they make the move.

As always, let us know in the comments if your thought on if the Saints should trade up in this years draft.

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