Latest PFF mock draft has the Saints picking another athletic, raw defensive end

Hey, you can’t say this mock draft isn’t realistic. Pro Football Focus draft analyst Trevor Sikkema recently published a two-round projection for the 2023 NFL draft ahead of this week’s combine in Indianapolis, where a number of prospects hope to separate from the pack off of impressive timing in athletic drills. And with their first pick, he has the New Orleans Saints selecting Clemson Tigers defensive end Myles Murphy at No. 29 overall.

“At 6-foot-5 and 275 pounds with a ton of athletic potential, Murphy fits the bill for the type of player the Saints gravitate toward on the defensive line. His lack of production is a concern, but his combine performance will likely lock him into the first round,” Sikkema wrote, describing any of the last three defensive ends the Saints have picked in the first round.

Whether it’s Myles Murphy, Payton Turner, or Marcus Davenport, they share a common characteristic: none of them were finished products coming out of college. Davenport missed too much time with injuries to fully develop in New Orleans. Turner has been surpassed by other backups on the depth chart through two seasons. Maybe Murphy enjoys better luck.

But this wasn’t the only Saints pick in Sikkema’s projection. In the second round of this mock draft, he has New Orleans landing Oregon State tight end Luke Musgrave — an impressive athlete who put up 169 receiving yards in the first two weeks last season, looking unguardable against future NFL prospects playing for Boise State and Fresno State. But an unfortunate knee injury ended his breakout season, and he had to wait until the Senior Bowl to show what he could do.

From the PFF 2023 draft guide: “Musgrave has the goods. He just doesn’t have the refinement. The good thing is he can still contribute due to his tools while developing into a more complete pass-catcher.”

A couple of high-upside athletes with untapped potential and worrying injury histories? Hey, those sure sound like Saints draft picks. Hopefully both players can shake the injury bug and develop into quality pros once they’re in the NFL in a few months.

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Story originally appeared on Saints Wire