After free agency and the NFL draft it felt like the Saints had covered up all the majors holes this team had at the end of the 2022 NFL season. Quarterback, running back and wide receiver have been addressed to the point where for now the team should be mostly set. There some spots on the defense the team could still fill whether it is done via trade or signing some veteran players. Let’s take a look at 5 players the Saints could trade for sign to help bolster the 2023 New Orleans Saints.
The Saints like most NFL teams in todays pass happy league will run nickel as their “base” defense. Linebackers Demario Davis and Pete Werner are more than capable of running the defense, however after losing linebacker Kaden Ellis to the Falcons in free agency the Saints really haven’t done a lot to address the position group. After drafting Trent Simpson from Clemson and re-signing linebacker Roquan Smith to a bug contract former first round pick Patrick Queen suddenly could find himself as the odd man out in Baltimore’s defense. After declining to pick up his 5th year option, the Ravens could look to get some decent compensation from the former LSU Tiger rather than wait until the offseason to get a compensation pick especially considering his value now. The Saints could send a 4th or 5th round pick to land Queen’s services at least for this team. In 2022 Queen played in all 17 games during the regular season, recorded 117 tackles to go along with 5 sacks and 2 interceptions.
After being traded to Seattle in the Russell Wilson deal Shelby Harris put together another consistent season. Harris fits the mold of bigger bodied physical defensive ends that can play inside as well in Dennis Allen’s scheme. Despite the Saints drafting Bryan Breese and Isaiah Foskey adding another veteran in this young defense line group doesn’t hurt at all. Harris recorded 44 tackles and 2 sacks in 2022 and is currently a free agent.
Now this is where we really play with the “what if” scenarios. Of course it would take something more than a late round pick to acquire Oliver considering maybe he hasn’t lived up to the hype when he was selected 9th overall back in 2019, he’s still one of the league’s best interior linemen and has been a key piece in the Bills resurgence. If the Saints were to get involved in a potential trade considering the talent you could look to sign him to an extension and solidify the defensive line for now and the future. Oliver is set to make 10.75 million in his 5th which comes as fully guaranteed, so the money and talent could make him an long term investment rather a one-year rental.
With injuries almost guaranteed to affect the Saints interior part of the offensive line signing a veteran like Risner who started in 62 games since coming into the league back in 2019. If the Saints want wait and continue the development of rookie Nick Saldiveri as he makes the transition from tackle to guard Risner makes tons of sense and both Andrus Peat and Caesar Ruiz are coming back from injury and both face free agency after this season.
Marcus Peters isn’t the player he once was, however, he played in 13 games last season and posted a respectable 67.0 grade from pro football focus after missing the previous season with a torn ACL. The Saints still have a need a nickel corner with Lattimore, Adebo, and Taylor all primarily outside corners. Peters brings over experience and more importantly his ball hawk ability to get interceptions. His 32 interceptions currently rank 4th among all active players and could help in that aspect as the Saints ranked 30th in that category last season.
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