Right after moving up for their backup quarterback, the New Orleans Saints used their 146th selection to take Jordan Howden out of the University of Minnesota. Howden plays multiple secondary positions, with his primary usage being used as a slot coverage corner. This was a huge need for the Saints going into the 2023 NFL Draft which hopefully has been filled with this selection.
Breakdown of Saints fifth round pick Jordan Howden
One of the things the Saints value when drafting players on day three of the draft is diversity of position. If a player can play all over the field, the Saints move that player up their boards. That seems to be what happened with Jordan Howden. He played four years for the Minnesota Golden Gophers where he filled in at free safety, strong safety, and slot defensive back. Of these three positions, Howden played in the slot the most. In his career, Howden started 49 of the 58 games he played in, accounting for four interceptions and 240 tackles. He started every game in his senior season and did not allow a single touchdown the entire year. Howden has immense experience and speed that might compete for the field immediately for the Saints.
The immediate comparable for Jordan Howden is likely former Saints player C.J. Gardner-Johnson. Howden was great at playing deep and using his 4.49 speed to make plays on the ball. Make no mistake though, Howden is still plenty capable of running down in the box to help against the run as well. Height and strength will likely keep Howden from playing against outside receivers, but this is not a need for the Saints currently. Bradley Roby will have competition for the nickel and slot role from Howden. The depth behind Roby and the safeties is incredibly thin for the Saints, which explains this selection. If Howden can learn from Roby, as well as Tyrann Mathieu and Marcus Maye, the Saints could have very well found a viable player deep in the NFL draft.