Saints pick a couple of Washington Huskies in this 2024 mock draft

We’ll start with the bad news: it’s tough to glean much from a four-round mock draft when the New Orleans Saints only own two picks. Out of the first 135 selections in the 2024 draft, just two belong to the black and gold (at Nos. 14 and 45). A series of trades by general manager Mickey Loomis has cost the team a lot of draft capital, and they don’t have much to show for it.

Now let’s focus on the good news. The Saints can still come away with two impactful players with these two picks. That’s what happened in this four-round mock draft from Draft Wire’s Curt Popejoy. And each player happened to come from the same school: the Washington Huskies.

In the first round, at No. 14, Popejoy has the Saints picking Washington left tackle Troy Fautanu. Popejoy alluded to Fautanu’s versatility, writing: “We love Troy Fautanu’s ability to play any spot on the offensive line.”

While he put up dominant tape at left tackle for Washington and excelled in the same outside zone-heavy running game that Klint Kubiak is installing with the Saints, some analysts feel his talents would be best employed at guard. If there’s any hope of Trevor Penning winning the starting job at left tackle, drafting a versatile blocker like Fautanu would allow the Saints to field their five best linemen.

What about the second round of this projection? Popejoy went back to Washington and picked wide receiver Ja’Lynn Polk for the Saints at No. 45. He isn’t as big as other wideouts in this class but he plays bigger than his frame (6-foot-1, 203 pounds with 32-inch arms) and wins on a lot of contested catches. He can make some nice moves with the ball in his hands, too. He’d provide a nice counterpunch to Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed while leaving room for someone like A.T. Perry to carve out a niche in the offense.

It’s uncommon to see teams pick college teammates in the same draft class like this. Since the team was founded in 1967, the Saints have done it 31 times, and six times during Mickey Loomis’ run as general manager. So it’s more likely than you’d think.

What about the rest of this mock draft? The Saints don’t have any picks in the third or fourth rounds, but a trade or two is a very real possibility. They own four selections in the fifth round and two in the sixth, and New Orleans should definitely be seen as a team that could package some of those picks together to move up into an earlier frame.

If talented prospects slide down a bit, as happened in this mock draft with Western Michigan defensive lineman Marshawn Kneeland (who fell to No. 76), western Kentucky slot receiver Malachi Corley (No. 85), Boston College left guard Christian Mahogany (No. 92), LSU defensive tackle Maason Smith (No. 108), or Texas right tackle Christian Jones (No. 119), fans shouldn’t be shocked if Loomis cuts a deal to go get them.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire