Welcome everyone to a special post NFL Draft edition of #4Downs! In this, I’ll break down my thoughts on what the Saints did in the NFL Draft.
1st Down: Who Is Going to Be a Bonafide Starter in 2016?
I could see several guys in this draft class be starters. Obviously, Sheldon Rankins is at the very top of the list. I could even see Michael Thomas see more playing time than Brandon Coleman. Vonn Bell has a ton of potential to be a starter, but his spot as a starter is dependent on a few things like the health of Jairus Byrd and Kenny Vaccaro. We could see him in a cornerback position as well, but I don’t feel that will be an ideal fit. Just look at Andrus Peat playing a guard last year. You can try and get someone in a somewhat similar position, but odds are it won’t work out because of the dreaded transition to a new playing position.
2nd Down: Whoa, Canada!
The Saints made a lot of fans shake their heads on Saturday afternoon by trading a fifth round pick in this year and next year’s drafts to pick up David Onyemata from the University of Manitoba. Some scouting reports had him projected him going in either the 7th round or being an undrafted free agent, so it seems like the Saints may have picked him a little too high. But after doing some research and finding his highlight reel on YouTube, I’m excited to see what he can do as a defensive tackle in training camp. The biggest knock I have on him is that he only has four years of experience playing football. Time will tell if he will be an impact player this season. I think he’ll spend the season on the bench and will make a big impact in 2017.
3rd Down: Strange Final Pick
The New Orleans Saints had a lot of positions to address during the offseason and they hit some of those. Rankins and Onyemata fulfill a need for defensive linemen, Thomas has the potential to be in the same spot as Marques Colston. But when you look at the final pick in this year’s draft, Daniel Lasco a running back out of Cal, it doesn’t seem to fill a need. When you look at the Saints tendencies to have a three-headed monster in the backfield, and that seems to be filled. You’ve got Mark Ingram, CJ Spiller who you hope to see in a bigger role, and Tim Hightower who is returning to the team after a few good weeks with the team at the end of 2015. It just seems like the Saints gave up after LSU’s Vadal Alexander was taken in the seventh round just three picks prior. I don’t see Lasco being part of the final 55-man roster.
4th Down: Overall Draft Grade
I’ve been seeing a lot of positive draft grades for the Saints all over the interwebs. I even ran a Twitter poll and most people gave it an A. To me, you look at the first two days of the draft, and I can give it a B+. They addressed needs and got some solid players out of it. The third day though leaves me scratching my head as to why take them over continuing to address needs. Another defensive tackle is perfectly fine by me, you could need one as some of these guys on the current roster won’t be there in 2017, but another running back in the 7th round? You left a lot of question marks on the team, especially on the offensive line. Now, they did pick up some as undrafted free agents at that position, but we’ll have to wait and see if these guys could even make the 55-man roster. With all this being said, I’ll give the Saints a C- draft grade because of the good outweighing the bad.