Mock drafts are all the rage, and the bye week presents a good opportunity for New Orleans Saints fans to take a look at which prospects are impressing ahead of the 2024 NFL draft. We’ve got a two-round projection from Curt Popejoy over at Draft Wire, who has the Saints investing their first-round pick on Miami Hurricanes defensive tackle Leonard Taylor III.
Taylor is a perfect fit at a listed 6-foot-3 and 305 pounds, and he’s disruptive with 22.5 tackles for loss in his 28-game career thus far. Bryan Bresee looks like the real deal and pairing him with someone like Taylor could set the Saints up at defensive tackle for years to come. They could lose Malcolm Roach in free agency in the spring which opens a slot in the rotation. Nathan Shepherd has played the most snaps at defensive tackle this season but he’s going to turn 31 next year in the second year of his three-year contract. Adding Taylor could help the Saints get younger and faster up front.
But the Saints’ pick in the second round of this mock draft would be a good get, too. Popejoy has them taking Washington offensive lineman Troy Fautanu at the No. 45 pick coming back from the Denver Broncos. Fautanu is someone we highlighted in our own recent five-round projection as someone who could help the Saints out at either left tackle or left guard, where things are very uncertain moving forwards.
Andrus Peat has looked like their best player at left tackle after taking over for Trevor Penning after he was benched, but he’s a free agent in the spring, and James Hurst hasn’t been that impressive at either spot. Maybe Fautanu can help the Saints figure out a long-term plan at one of those positions. Either way, the Saints are not winning at the line of scrimmage often enough on either side of the ball this season, and it’s clear that they should continue to invest in their offensive and defensive lines to get better up front.