NFL mock draft roundup links Saints to linebackers, and a Sam Darnold trade

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John Sigler
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The last round of 2021 NFL mock drafts doesn’t feature much consensus for where the New Orleans Saints may look to improve, but the flip side to that is noting how many options they have to work with. And the projections aren’t limited to draft prospects; one brave speculator has the Saints trading their first-round pick for embattled New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold. Here’s what’s new in draft circles:

Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com: LB Nick Bolton, Missouri

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“Bolton is a run-and-hit linebacker with outstanding range. The Saints are getting a little older at the second level of their defense and need to add some speed.”

Benjamin Solak, The Draft Network: OT Jalen Mayfield, Michigan

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Mayfield is a project tackle. He played well in 2020 for the Wolverines over just a few games this year, but with fewer than 20 career starts, needs time to turn quick feet and great on-the-hoof ability into consistent pass protection. Think about the Andre Dillard pick for Philadelphia from 2019. He gives you the ability to make some moves on the offensive line, even if you don’t end up making them.”

Seth Galina, Pro Football Focus: LB Nick Bolton, Missouri

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The Saints will need a quarterback going forward because it’s hard to look at Taysom Hill or Jameis Winston and be too excited about the future at that position. Still, you can easily see them try to find some defensive talent here. The team clearly doesn’t value Alex Anzalone, given their acquisition of Kwon Alexander, and Alexander may not ever get back up to speed after suffering an Achilles injury. So, Bolton is the pick here. The nice thing is that Demario Davis can play either Mike or Will, so wherever Bolton fits in, Davis can just slide over.

Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports: CB Tyson Campbell, Georgia

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The Saints have four CBs on the roster headed for free agency and even though Marshon Lattimore, Janoris Jenkins and Patrick Robinson are still on multi-year deals, you can never have enough big-play corners. Campbell is long, physical and is only going to get better with experience

Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports: WR Rondale Moore, Purdue

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The Saints are bound to turn the page at quarterback this offseason, and whether it be Jameis Winston, Taysom Hill, or someone else, New Orleans needs more weapons.

Josh Edwards, CBS Sports: Trade for QB Sam Darnold, New York Jets

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New York trades Sam Darnold to New Orleans in exchange for a late first-round pick. The Jets might have to send a mid-round pick in return but do not get caught up in the small details. ... The Saints are ushering in the post-Drew Brees era and Sean Payton does not want to do that with Jameis Winston.

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa

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The Saints need to get more versatility and speed for the second level to better support their strong defensive front. Dennis Allen should love this prospect's skill set. Collins explodes as an athlete and can make a lot of plays with his agility, quickness and range.

Dan Kadar, Akron Beacon Journal: WR Kadarius Toney, Florida

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When the strange scenario with wide receiver Michael Thomas hit the Saints, the passing offense staggered. Toney is coming off a breakout final season at Florida where he had 70 receptions for 984 yards and 10 touchdowns. More importantly for the Saints, he has the speed to separate and make plays.”