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3 Saints ranked among ESPN’s 100 best picks in 2024 NFL draft

The New Orleans Saints made some popular picks in the 2024 draft. ESPN ranked three of them among this year’s 100 best selections, starting with first-round right tackle Taliese Fuaga. Here’s why ESPN’s Matt Miller argues Fuaga was the 24th-best pick out of the 257 selections in this year’s draft:

You could make the argument that no team had a more clearly defined need than the Saints’ hole at offensive tackle. Trevor Penning (2022 first-rounder) hasn’t hit, and the injuries to veteran Ryan Ramczyk make his future a question mark. Fuaga’s power at right tackle and agility in zone-blocking schemes made him a lock to be selected in the top 15. The value, fit and need are all aligned here.

But they didn’t stop there. The Saints also nailed their second-round choice, which was a trade up four spots to select cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry. Miller ranked that pick at 77th in his top 100, writing:

Marshon Lattimore has been among the league’s best cornerbacks since he was drafted in 2017, but his peak years may be behind him. Lattimore can mentor McKinstry to take his role as CB1 on the depth chart. The right foot Jones fracture that caused McKinstry to drop has to be watched, but scouts raved about his football sense and instincts in the pre-draft process.

However, that McKinstry pick wasn’t even the team’s second-best move on draft day. Miller is a big fan of how well Spencer Rattler fits New Orleans’ depth chart at quarterback, ranking that pick above McKinstry at 73rd:

If the Saints had drafted Rattler in the third round, the pick still would have made my list. Stealing him in the fifth round gets an even higher ranking. Rattler’s toughness as he battled adversity at Oklahoma and South Carolina impressed me. He has a big arm and good mobility, and he is fearless in the pocket. He can be developed, potentially as a future starter.

So that two instant-impact draft picks and one that could develop into something special with time. If each of these three young players can meet those expectations, the Saints just might get where they want to go and end their playoffs drought. But winning the draft is just one thing. Keeping that positive momentum going into training camp and a grueling 17-game season is another. Let’s see if the Saints have it in them.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire