Admittedly I am no draft expert. I enjoy watching college football, but mostly the teams I either cover, UL/LSU or grew up watching, Syracuse. And I certainly don’t watch any film of the players seeking to play professional football. So take the following with a grain of salt.
The Saints did very little in the 2017 draft to help them in 2017. They went into the draft needing an edge rusher and another corner. But with Matt Ryan, Cam Newton and Jameis Winston in the division, the Saints waited until their sixth pick to select someone who can rush the passer. In their first five picks, the Saints took a corner, offensive lineman, safety, third down back, (which cost them next year’s 2nd round pick), and inside linebacker. None of which will directly help the defense get to the quarterback.
It is interesting what one Super Bowl title does for a coaching staff and front office. Many will come away from this draft as a solid one for the Saints and perhaps with good reason. Marshon Lattimore was considered the top corner and Ryan Ramczyk was highly rated on the team’s draft board. And maybe Trey Hendrickson out of Florida Atlantic turns out to be the edge rusher the Saints need. But for a team that’s gone 7-9 the last three seasons and has a grand total of two playoff wins since the Championship season, they didn’t address that need soon enough.
Would Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton even be making these picks without that Super Bowl title? I get the whole idea of ‘taking the best player available’ while resisting the urge to reach for player just to fulfill a need. Lattimore better be a starter in 2017, but picks like Ramczyk, Marcus Williams and Alvin Kamera have 2018 and beyond written all over them. That’s fine if a certain quarterback continues his career with the Saints after 2017. If not, the Saints appear to be building for the future instead of trying to win now. Eventually you have to seek out a player that fills a need. I could care less if it’s a bit of a reach.
So I’m wondering during this upcoming season, when the Saints defense can’t get off the field vs Ryan, Newton, Winston, Brady, Bradford, etc, will anyone ask Payton about the backup tackle they picked in the first round or the third down back they traded up for in the third round? But hey, Loomis and Payton must know what they are doing. After all, they won a Super Bowl.