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After checking off wide receiver and left tackle, the New Orleans Saints have done a great job immediately addressing their need in the the 2022 NFL draft. Now, they have only one Day 2 selection, sitting at No. 49 after trading away their fourth round selection as a part of the package to move up for Ohio State wideout Chris Olave.
The Saints could take a moment at focus on defense, add another pass catcher, or potentially look at quarterback after only one was selected in the first round. As we examine the Saints’ remaining needs, here are the top prospects remaining from our own Dylan Sanders and his top-100 big board.
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Jaquan Brisker, Penn State (20)
Jalen Pitre, Baylor (38)
If the Saints were to select Brisker at 49 or earlier (with a trade up) that would solidify their plan that Mickey Loomis outlined a few weeks ago. He mentioned that with three top-50 selections, he expects to be able to land three players in the top 20 or 25 of their board. In this scenario, the Saints would land Dylan’s 18th, 19th, and 20th overall prospects. Brisker would be an immediate start for Dennis Allen’s defense and would give the Saints the versatility they need to be able to find where he and free agent addition Marcus Maye best complement one another.
Not addressing this position in this year’s daft would be telling. The Saints hosted veteran safety, and New Orleanian, Tyrann Mathieu earlier this offseason. No safety selection in this year’s draft could signal an expectation as to where Mathieu will land following the draft.
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Christian Watson, North Dakota State (41)
David Bell, Purdue (45)
Skyy Moore, Western Michigan (48)
There are still a plethora of wide receivers the Saints could target if they wanted to go pass catcher, but it doesn’t stop at wideouts. New Orleans could look to add a young weapon to their offense via their tight end room (Greg Dolcich, Trey McBride, or Jeremy Ruckert), which could certainly use a boost. The issue is that rookie tight ends rarely impact their offenses and this class doesn’t look to have a prospect that will change that pattern. So going back to wide receiver would make the most sense if New Orleans wanted to double dip at pass catcher.
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DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M (28)
Perrion Winfrey, Oklahoma (37)
Travis Jones, UCONN (54)
This feels like a likely direction for New Orleans in the second day. While Leal and Winfrey could hear their names called early in the second round, position value vs. the remaining quarterbacks and wide receivers could push them down. Any of these prospects would be a huge win for the Saints who are looking for an additional interior defensive lineman to take the bulk of the snaps beside veteran David Onyemata.
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Rachaad White, Arizona State (64)
Breece Hall, Iowa State (80)
Brian Robinson Jr., Alabama (87)
Running back makes a ton of sense for the Saints, but maybe not in the second round. Alvin Kamara’s hearing following his Vegas altercation has been rescheduled for August. Regardless of how that pans out in the court of the law, the court of the NFL could still look to suspend him. If that’s the case, adding another running back who can be multiple in the Saints offense would be a huge benefit.
New Orleans loves backs who don’t have a ton of wear and tear in college, are strong and have explosive testing numbers. Arizona State’s Rachaad White checks each of the boxes. He and Georgia running back James Cook are names to watch.
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Malik Willis, Liberty (27)
Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati (30)
Sam Howell, North Carolina (43)
Shockingly the NFL did exactly what they should have done and passed on this class of quarterbacks. The only surprise being that the Pittsburgh Steelers took Pitt’s Kenny Pickett over Willis. Many thought the Liberty product would be the first signal caller off the board because of his athleticism and extremely high upside. Instead, Willis and every other top passer outside of Pickett have now fallen out of Round 1.
If the Saints wanted to take a quarterback, it seems they would have done so at 19. But could the unexpected availability at the NFL’s most important position entice them to circle back in Day 2?