New Orleans Saints fans should be rooting against the San Francisco 49ers in Sunday’s divisional round playoff game with the Dallas Cowboys, even if pulling for Dallas is a little tough to swallow. San Francisco’s first round pick in the 2023 NFL draft will go to the Denver Broncos, which could be traded again to New Orleans for Sean Payton should he be hired as Denver’s new head coach.
It’s a little convoluted. The Broncos only own this pick because it was traded to them by the Miami Dolphins (in exchange for star pass rusher Bradley Chubb), who first received it from San Francisco when the 49ers moved up in the 2021 NFL draft targeting quarterback prospect Trey Lance. So if that selection eventually goes to New Orleans, it will be arriving from Denver by way of Miami through San Francisco. How’s that for traveling from coast to coast?
But Lance won’t be playing in this playoff elimination game with the Cowboys after suffering a season-ending injury back in September. Neither will his veteran backup Jimmy Garoppolo. Instead it’s on rookie seventh-round pick Brock Purdy, who has capably led the 49ers offense in their absence. The ferocious Dallas defense will be looking to bury him on Sunday evening, and Saints fans should hope they’re successful.
If the 49ers lose, San Francisco will be slotted in somewhere between picks No. 25 and 28. If they advance to the NFC title game, that selection moves back further and becomes less valuable. If the Saints have their eye on it, fans should be pulling for it to rise as high as possible in the first-round draft order. It’s another subplot to monitor during a weekend full of high-stakes playoff games. This 49ers-Cowboys game is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. CT kickoff on FOX.