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The greatest value in the 2022 NFL draft may lie in Rounds 2 and 3, so it’s kind of discouraging that the New Orleans Saints are entering the draft’s second day with just one pick after all of their first-round maneuvering. But they can still find an upgrade at the No. 49 overall pick, and it would be a surprise if the team doesn’t make more trades to acquire more — or better — picks. Here are four prospects our staff would love to see join the black and gold:
DT Travis Jones, UConn
AP Photo/Butch Dill
After filling their two biggest needs at wide receiver and offensive tackle, the New Orleans Saints could look to sure up their defensive line in the second round. While safety may feel like a more pressing need, one must wonder the chances of Dennis Allen and the Saints landing veteran safety Tyrann Mathieu. With that possibility, the urgency to add a starting-caliber interior defender beside David Onyemata may be too high to pass up in the second round. Jones is extremely athletic with great size at 6-foot-4 and 325 pounds with a 9.4 RAS score. Great measurables from an AAC product, the fourth most drafted conference for the Saints since 2015. — Ross Jackson
S Jaquan Brisker, Penn State
I sound like a broken record at this point, but I really want to address the hole at safety given the departure of both starting safeties in all but one game last season. Marcus
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Maye fills one role, but he needs a counterpart. With only one pick in Rounds 2-4 left, it has to be safety to me. My ideal prospect in terms of traits and versatility to be interchangeable with Maye is Penn State’s Jaquan Brisker. His ability to be aggressive in the box, play in space with understanding of passing concepts – and make plays at that with 19 pass deflections and 5 interceptions in three seasons – are exactly what the team needs to fill out a strong secondary. — Maddy Hudak
LB Chad Muma, Wyoming
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He may not be the name you think of first when you look at the linebackers of this class, but Chad Muma is sure to be an NFL player. He fits the Saints mold for linebackers to a tee, with both both size and athleticism. He’s fast, smart, and a good tackler. This would kind of just be repeating the Pete Werner pick from last season, but it fills a need with potential to get ahead of a problem with Demario Davis getting older. He offers potential to be a three down backer. — Dylan Sanders
RB Breece Hall, Iowa State
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The most complete back in this draft class, Hall did it all for the Cyclones and would add a lot to the Saints offense as both a runner and receiver, finishing his career with 11 school records to his name at Iowa State (including 50 touchdown runs in 36 games played). He’s also an outstanding athlete who fits New Orleans’ prototypes for the position. Running back is more of a luxury pick for the Saints than other positions like safety and even quarterback, but with Alvin Kamara facing a suspension and uncertain depth behind him the Saints would be fortunate to leave with Hall.