The New Orleans Saints are currently in a Super Bowl window based on the talent they have on their roster, but can they actually finish the job next season?
Their decisions in the 2020 NFL Draft will play a big role in that. Many think the Saints may be in the first round quarterback discussion, but should they be? Could it be another weapon to go alongside Michael Thomas in the first round? Another piece for the defensive front seven possibly?
This 7-round mock draft answers these questions and many more.
Round 1, Pick 24: Patrick Queen, Linebacker, LSU
New Orleans kicks their draft off by adding an elite physical talent to the linebacker room. Queen adds a coverage ability that no linebacker on the Saints roster currently possesses. Demario Davis needs a partner in crime, and that’s exactly what Patrick would be for him. This pick also alleviates some of the pressure currently on Alex Anzalone and Kiko Alonso. Both guys who have struggled mightily the past couple years with injuries.
Kenneth Murray was another possible option here, but Queen’s tools make him more valuable at this spot for the Saints based on the type of defender they need to add to ensure the defense keeps improving. Also, he wouldn’t have to travel too far to his new NFL home! The NFL is progressively getting faster and faster (cc: Chiefs and Ravens), so having speed on the defense to match up with those guys is more critical than ever before.
Round 3, Pick 88: Van Jefferson, Wide Receiver, Florida
Van Jefferson is an athletic freak in many ways, but injury concerns could deplete his draft stock just a bit. Towards the end of the third round, the risk is certainly worth the reward. New Orleans added Emmanuel Sanders in free agency, but they could still use another piece on the outside for Drew Brees. It also remains to be seen how many impactful touches Deonte Harris will get this year, so there are definitely chances to be had for anyone that steps up.
Jefferson’s statistics at Ole Miss and Florida aren’t eye-popping, but his route-running and release on tape are very impressive. Those skills are very difficult to teach, so he is ahead of the curve. Catching passes from Shea Patterson and Feleipe Franks isn’t the easiest task. Catching them from Drew Brees will most likely be much easier. He can transition very well into being a WR3 in the NFL, with potential WR2 upside for the Saints after some grooming.
Round 4, Pick 130: Shane Lemieux, Interior Offensive Lineman, Oregon
Lemieux was highly regarded coming into his 2019 campaign, and while he didn’t quite live up to the first-round buzz, he was still fairly solid for the Ducks. He’s got some of the best raw power in the offensive line class and processes very effectively. The Oregon guard isn’t the most athletic, but this can be masked pretty often by his strong hands and solid anchor. At the very least, he would provide the Saints with some needed depth on the interior of the offensive line while also having the upside to possibly start if Andrus Peat struggles as he did at points last season.
Round 5, Pick 169: Anthony Gordon, Quarterback, Washington State
You may be saying “A 5th round quarterback, why? Isn’t that kind of pointless?”. In reality, it would not be pointless in the case of Anthony Gordon at all. Gordon is certainly a project and a guy who may never be an impact starter at the next level. On the other hand, he’s got very impressive arm talent and has shown the capability to be a mobile passer. The kid can sling the rock. The Saints only have two quarterbacks on the active roster after Teddy Bridgewater’s departure, if you count Taysom Hill as a viable QB option. This means they will absolutely be adding one either through the free agent pool after the draft or sometime during the draft.
Gordon, similar to Gardner Minshew last year, is a product of the Mike Leach system. This means he played in a mostly West Coast/Air Raid system, a scheme not too foreign to Sean Payton. In 2019, he compiled 5,579 yards on 493 completions and 48 touchdowns.
Round 6, Pick 203: Reggie Robinson II, Cornerback, Tulsa
With their final pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Saints dip into Oklahoma and snag Reggie Robinson II, a stand-out, athletic cornerback at Tulsa. At 6’1, 202 pounds Reggie is the size of a prototypical outside NFL corner. By this time of the draft, it’s all about shooting for the stars and adding depth to positions in the biggest need of it, so Robinson II fits that bill for New Orleans. Robinson II is very sticky in press-man coverage, a scheme the Saints use very often on outside receivers. He’s got a ways to go in his footwork technicalities, but his ball skills mask those inefficiencies at some points on tape.
The Saints let Eli Apple go after his contract expired after this past season while bringing back Patrick Robinson, P.J. Williams, and Janoris Jenkins on restructured deals. Moreso, Robinson, and Jenkins have struggled with injuries at times and Williams has been fairly inconsistent. This pick could have some major upside for the Saints in the long run.
For New Orleans, it’s all about capitalizing on the current window that the team is in. This draft is aggressive based on their needs while it also grabbed assets for the long-term plan. The 2020-2021 campaign could be Brees’ last run of his career, so why not make it a special one?
Come discuss this and much more at the Overtime Heroics forums!
Be sure to check out our partners at Repp Sports! They offer the first-ever crowd-sourced, no carb, no sugar, energy drink called RAZE and much more! Use the link above or add the promo code OTH1 at checkout to get 30% off your order!