The New Orleans Saints have hit on a lot of their recent NFL Draft selections.
The picks didn’t have to land in the first round for the players to make an impact for them.
Dating back to 2016, the Saints selected Michael Thomas and Vonn Bell in the second round and David Onyemata in the fourth round.
In 2017, the Saints selected Marcus Williams in the second round and both Alvin Kamara and Alex Anzalone in the third round. They also selected Tre’Quan Smith, who admittedly hasn’t panned out just yet, in the third round of the 2018 draft.
New Orleans saw two selections play significant time in their first seasons with center Erik McCoy and safety Chauncey Garder-Johnson. McCoy was taken in the second round while Gardner-Johnson was selected in the fourth.
I haven’t touched on the first round picks from these drafts because these selections alone show that the Saints seem to know what they are doing.
But all eyes are on the 24th overall selection for New Orleans in this year’s draft. The team has addressed needs in the offseason by signing safety Malcolm Jenkins and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders.
This has put the Saints in a “best player available” situation, but their recent draft hits have now put a high expectation on the Saints. That, along with their Super Bowl aspirations, put more importance on this year’s draft.
People have expressed their want for a linebacker with that 24th pick, like LSU’s Patrick Queen or Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray. Some mock drafts have the Saints selecting a wide receiver.
It’s a good problem to have to be able to select the best player available, but it’s hard not to zero in on one player that you would really want and then not be upset when the Saints go with another player.
We should trust New Orleans in the draft, right?
It should be stress free when the Saints make their selection. But what happens if they trade the 24 pick to move up or even move back?
We should still trust, but now Saints fans will have to adjust their expectation of drafting that one player they wanted.
This mock draft from NFL.com had the Saints selecting offensive guard Connor McGovern from Penn State with the 62nd overall pick in 2019, but the Saints traded up to grab McCoy.
New Orleans sent their 27th overall pick, a fifth round pick and a future first round pick to select Marcus Davenport with the 14th overall pick.
The Saints sent Brandin Cooks and a fourth-round pick for the Patriots’ first rounder in 2017. New Orleans then selected Ryan Ramczyk with the 32nd overall pick.
Bell was involved in a trade in order for him to be on the Saints. New Orleans traded a third and fourth round pick in 2016 to move up to select Bell in the second round.
This Bleacher Report mock draft had Georgia’s Jordan Jenkins to the Saints with the 78th overall pick and Arizona wide receiver Cayleb Jones with the 112nd pick. But those selections were traded for Bell.
The recent drafts have been unpredictable for the Saints and they seem to be slated in that 24th overall selection for now, but we have learned that expectations may need to be adjusted when Thursday night rolls around.
It should be a stress free draft for New Orleans and fans of the team, but if you are locked in on one player right now then you may be disappointed.