Updated Saints team needs for Day 2 of the 2022 NFL draft

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After landing Ohio State standout wide receiver Chris Olave and the meanest left tackle in the draft in Trevor Penning of Northern Iowa, the New Orleans Saints crossed off two of their biggest needs. Going into Day 2 of the NFL Draft, the team has a few areas on their roster they’re likely to focus. Here are the Saints’ remaining needs heading into the second day of the draft.

Safety

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After losing both safeties Marcus Williams and Malcolm Jenkins this offseason, the Saints have a big need on the backend of their defense. Safety is a very important position for Dennis Allen’s scheme. While they did sign Marcus Maye in free agency, the team could look to address this position by adding some young talent.

The good news for New Orleans is that that options still available on the board give them a lot of freedom in terms of the unit’s configuration. For instance, if New Orleans were to select ballhawking Illinois safety Kerby Joseph in the second round, his deep safety acumen would allow Maye to play the role of box safety as he did with Robert Saleh’s Jets defense last season. On the other hand, if the Saints go with Penn State’s Jaquan Brisker (Dylan Sanders’ top remaining safety and 20th overall player), Brisker’s length and instincts could be best suited close to the line of scrimmage. Maye would then be able to reprise his early-career role as a roaming free safety.

Defensive tackle

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Aside from David Onyemata, the Saints defensive interior is young and mostly unproven. New Orleans should be looking at a dominating presence to complement the seventh-year man out of Manitoba. Last year, Onyemata missed the first six games of the season and still piled on more pressures (32) than every other defensive tackle on the roster combined (31). That can’t be the case.

With names like Travis Jones out of UConn, Matthew Butler of Tennessee, and DeMarvin Leal of Texas A&M still on the board, the Saints would have a great opportunity to add a much needed piece to their defensive line. While the Saints don’t necessarily like to draft for need, their free agency approach this year necessitates it. And while this needs isn’t as massive as the one at wide receiver and offensive tackle that was addressed, keeping a strength a strength should be a very important consideration on Airline Drive this week.

Running back

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Saints tailback Alvin Kamara’s trail stemming from an February altercation in Vegas has been pushed to August, regardless of the results of that case, the Saints could still be without him thanks to a potential suspension that could be handed down by the league. The court of the law and the court of the NFL are separate entities. With that, the Saints should take time to consider a back that can be a do-it-all type in his stead.

Even if Kamara doesn’t end up with a suspension this offseason, adding to the running back room still makes sense. Mark Ingram is in the final year of his contract after reuniting with the team last year, Tony Jones Jr. should get another fair shake but is not a guarantee, and Ty Montgomery is now a New England Patriot. The intent with Montgomery’s signing years ago was a have a Kamara-like presence that allowed you to keep the playbook open if Kamara wasn’t on the field. Now, there’s no such presence. Arizona State’s Rachaad White, Iowa State’s Breece Hall and Georgia James Cook are two names to know in Day 2 that are perfect fits for the system in New Orleans.

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