Saints go heavy on defense in post-Super Bowl mock draft roundup

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John Sigler
·4 min read
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With Super Bowl LV wrapped up and the order of selections in the 2021 NFL draft established, it’s time for another quick survey of which prospects are being linked to the New Orleans Saints from around the league’s orbit.

And for the most part, mock drafts are adding more reinforcements on defense than on offense for the Saints. With pending free agents like Trey Hendrickson, Marcus Williams, Sheldon Rankins, and Alex Anzalone potentially hitting the market, that makes sense. But the uncertainty at quarterback is also a factor.

Here are the prospects picked by the Saints in the latest round of mock drafts:

Chad Reuter, NFL.com: DT Levi Onwuzurike, Washington

AP Photo/Tony Avelar

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"Sheldon Rankins, the Saints' first-round pick five years ago, could be replaced by another if the veteran finds greener pastures elsewhere in free agency. Onwuzurike's clearly the top 3-technique tackle in this draft."

Dan Kadar Akron Beacon Journal: DT Daviyon Nixon, Iowa

Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen-HawkCentral

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"I considered going with Florida quarterback Kyle Trask here, but Saints head coach Sean Payton seems committed to Jameis Winston getting a shot and his love for Taysom Hill is never-ending. So if New Orleans goes in another direction in the first round, the Saints could look to shore up the interior of the defensive line with a powerhouse like Nixon. In just seven games last season he had 13.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks from the inside. He can dominate at times."

Brent Sobleski, Bleacher Report: S Trevon Moehrig, TCU

Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

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"Mercifully, Drew Brees provided the New Orleans Saints some salary-cap relief this offseason as the quarterback readies himself for retirement. As of now, the Saints are only $70.5 million in the red for the projected 2021 salary cap, per Spotrac. The team's lack of solvency will create ripple effects through the entire roster.

The safety position serves as an excellent example. Marcus Williams, who started 60 of 64 possible games in his first four seasons, is a pending free agent. The team still has Malcolm Jenkins and C.J. Gardner-Johnson under contract, but a third safety can help create more flexibility since both Jenkins and Gardner-Johnson are viable slot options.

TCU's Trevon Moehrig presents another possibility. By standing pat, the Saints improve their secondary and land the class' top-ranked safety."

Dalton Johnson, NBC Sports: CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina

AP Photo/Sean Rayford

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"Keep the Horn family tradition alive in the Big Easy. From city to team, I love this fit. Horn, the son of former Saints receiver Joe Horn, is a big and physical corner. He can be a top man coverage corner in the NFL. Pair him with Marshon Lattimore and the Saints could have something special between their top two corners."

, Pro Football Focus: QB Mac Jones, Alabama

AP Photo/John Raoux, File

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"It might be a hard rebuild for the Saints this offseason, which means they should be in the market for cornerstone pieces. There’s no more cornerstone position than quarterback, and Mac Jones’ elite underneath accuracy is tailor-made for Sean Payton’s offense."

Josh Edwards, CBS Sports: QB Mac Jones, Alabama

Gary Cosby Jr./The Tuscaloosa News via AP

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"New Orleans is the perfect situation for Mac Jones. If he were put in a situation behind a porous offensive line that required him to use his feet to survive, the Alabama product would fail spectacularly. He is accurate, poised and throws the prettiest deep balls this side of the Mississippi River."

Eric Edholm, Yahoo Sports: WR Kadarius Toney, Florida

AP Photo/John Bazemore

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"A bit later than we expected for Toney, who is an electric playmaker, but it’s an excellent fit, we believe, for a Saints team that might have to generate offense in different ways if Drew Brees retires. Toney has lined up in the backfield, in the slot, out wide and as a punt and kick returner. (He’s even taken snaps at QB, completing 3-of-6 passes for 82 yards and a TD in college.)"

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