The 11th day of Draftmas brings us to the New Orleans Saints.
New Orleans finished the season at 7-9, missing the playoffs for the third straight season. The offense will always be good with Drew Brees and Sean Payton, but the defense has to improve to help this team get back to the playoffs.
The Saints scored 29.3 points per game which ranked second in the league, but led the league in total yardage and passing yards. The running game was average with 108.9 yards per game, but that isn’t a huge concern with the passing offense doing so well.
Drew Brees will be without one of his top targets, Brandin Cooks, who was traded to the New England Patriots with a fourth round pick for a first and third round pick in this year’s draft. Tedd Ginn was signed leading up to the trade to help fill in on the receiving corps. Larry Warford was also signed by the Saints to play guard and protect Brees. They won’t need to spend too many of their draft picks on offense, but may want to take a running back or wide receiver after addressing the defense.
The defense gave up 28.4 points per game, which ranked 31st in the NFL. A lot of positions will need upgrades, but safety and defensive tackle will most likely not be addressed, unless it is specifically to add depth. Vonn Bell and Kenny Vaccaro are two good young safeties and Nick Fairley and Sheldon Rankins will man the defensive tackle positions. Rankins didn’t have a great rookie year, but will likely be given time to get things on track. With so many needs on defense, outside of these positions, the Saints will likely use a lot of picks on defense in this draft.
Picks and Needs
New Orleans has seven picks in this year’s draft, with five of them coming in the first three rounds. They will need to get some impact players on the defensive side of the ball with these picks to make a playoff push.
First round: (2) No. 11, No. 32
Second round: (1) No. 42
Third round: (2) No. 76, No. 103
Fourth round: (0)
Fifth round: (0)
Sixth round: (1) No. 196
Seventh round: (1) No. 229
Targets and Thoughts
The picks here are who the Saints could realistically get where they are drafting. There will be no trades and I will be looking at just the first three rounds.
Pick #11: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
Cameron Jordan can’t be the only pass rusher that the Saints have. Charlton is one of the most disputed prospects in this draft, as some predict him going in the top ten, while others say he will fall to late in the first round. He has great size at 6’6″ and 273 pounds, with ten sacks last year. If New Orleans doesn’t think that he is the pick, they could go after one of the many good corners or Reuben Foster if he is still available.
Pick #32: Kevin King, CB, Washington
New Orleans needs more corners to shut down some of the receivers in their division. King has the size at 6’3″ to match up with the likes of Mike Evans, but also has some good speed. He or another corner will need to be taken early on in this draft.
Pick #42: Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
With already addressing some of the defensive needs, the Saints can get a weapon for Drew Brees to utilize out of the backfield. Kamara is a good running back, but an even better receiver out of the backfield. Brees can use a guy like Kamara to create big plays when the receivers downfield are covered.
Pick #76: Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State
The Saints get another defensive player to help slow down opposing offenses. McMillan is good against the run, but needs to improve his coverage skills.
Pick #103: Malachi Dupre, WR, LSU
Dupre comes in from nearby LSU and can be a long term target to go alongside Michael Thomas. With a good size and speed combination, Brees will be able to find him often through the air.
A long term quarterback solution will still be needed if the Saints make these selections, but with their current roster and these picks they can make a run at the playoffs. The defense will be improved and the offense will have some new weapons after losing Cooks. Look for the Saints to be competitive and fighting for a playoff spot in the upcoming season with a successful draft.
Thank you for joining us on our eleventh day of TGH Draftmas! Check back tomorrow where we will be bringing you the Draft Profile of the Arizona Cardinals!
You can read all of the previous days of Draftmas below!
Draftmas Day 10: Buffalo Bills
Draftmas Day 9: Cincinnati Bengals
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