Saints plan for the proper 2021 NFL Draft: Concentrate on cornerback with high decide, dip into deep receiver class


The New Orleans Saints gained the NFC South for a fourth straight season in 2020, however they needed to bear many adjustments over the previous few months. Not solely did longtime quarterback Drew Brees resolve to hold up the cleats, however the Saints needed to climate what was a disastrous cap state of affairs in a 12 months through which the cap quantity really went down resulting from misplaced income from the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to cash hardships, the Saints had been compelled to maneuver on from a number of gamers and had been unable to signal others in search of new contracts. Fortuitously, there’s a chance so as to add younger, low-cost expertise later this month. 

The 2021 NFL Draft is rapidly approaching, and that is the place true contenders are constructed. It might be onerous for the Saints to repeat as divisional champions with a number of the roster turnover they’ve skilled, however this franchise and head coach Sean Payton know what it takes to achieve success. Dominating the NFL Draft  goes to be key for the Saints, and addressing positional wants equivalent to linebacker, line of defense, cornerback and large receiver are essential.

Under, we’ll map out three aims the Saints should accomplish in the event that they wish to pull off the proper 2021 NFL Draft and stay a contender within the NFC. 

Seize a cornerback with one in every of their first picks

The Saints have a star nook in Marshon Lattimore, however who’s going to begin throughout from him? Janoris Jenkins, who began in all 13 video games he performed in final 12 months, signed with the Tennessee Titans in free company, and Patrick Robinson and P.J. Williams began in simply seven mixed video games in 2020. New Orleans ought to draft a cornerback with one in every of its first picks, and it may occur within the first spherical. Two of our CBS NFL Draft writers have the Saints deciding on former Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley — who’s actually a prospect they need to contemplate if he falls all the best way to No. 28 general. Farley opted out of the 2020 season, however his well being can also be a perceived subject. He missed his professional day resulting from what was reported to be a minor process achieved on his again, and that coupled with the rising shares of the opposite high cornerbacks on this class may trigger him to fall within the first spherical. 

Just lately, Farley stated that not solely would a group be making a mistake by taking one other nook over him, however that he would make it his mission to produce other groups kicking themselves for passing on his expertise. I desire a participant like that, nevertheless it’s not a given he’ll fall all the best way to the top of the primary spherical. If Farley is just not obtainable, New Orleans might be within the working for Asante Samuel Jr. out of Florida State, Greg Newsome II out of Northwestern, Georgia’s Tyson Campbell or Ifeatu Melifonwu out of Syracuse. Most of those names are thought of late first-round or early second-round prospects, so possibly New Orleans ought to lean towards utilizing that first choice on a high nook. 

Benefit from the deep large receiver class

In line with ESPN’s Mike Triplett, the Saints are one in every of solely three NFL groups who haven’t drafted a large receiver previously two years. New Orleans has a few intriguing gamers like Marquez Callaway, Tre’Quan Smith and Deonte Harris, however want a reliable starter with Emmanuel Sanders gone and a brand new quarterback taking on. Fortunately, it is a deep class in terms of wideouts, and there may be reliable expertise obtainable in all seven rounds. A few massive targets the Saints may contemplate are Ihmir Smith-Marsette from Iowa, Seth Williams from Auburn and Josh Imatorbhebhe out of Illinois. He registered a 46.5-inch vertical, which might have been a mix file if there had been a mix this 12 months. All three of those prospects, in line with my colleague Josh Edwards, are slated to go within the fifth spherical or later. If the Saints wish to goal somebody greater than that, Clemson’s Amari Rodgers or Dazz Newsome out of UNC could be good additions as properly. Nevertheless, if the Saints wish to assault this want, this draft class has loads of potential, and they should capitalize. 

Establish and purchase the quarterback you need

The Saints are advantageous on the quarterback place for 2021 with Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill, nevertheless it might be argued they do not have a quarterback on roster that’s really the long run beneath heart. New Orleans ought to contemplate taking a quarterback someplace within the center or possibly even late within the draft — one the entrance workplace believes has beginning potential. I am assured Payton is doing his due diligence on this crop of signal-callers and that basic supervisor Mickey Loomis will make a transfer if he feels it’s a necessity, as a result of the Saints made a fairly aggressive transfer final 12 months for a quarterback. With the No. 240 general decide within the 2020 NFL Draft, the Saints chosen former Mississippi State quarterback Tommy Stevens. This wasn’t only a decide for enjoyable, by the best way. The Saints really traded a future sixth-round decide to the Houston Texans to pick out Stevens — and it was the one decide the Saints made within the remaining 4 rounds. Stevens was a university athlete that drew comparisons to Hill. The truth is, throughout his first three seasons in faculty, Stevens rushed for extra yards than he threw for.

Now, this transfer did not essentially work out and the Saints really tried Stevens out at tight finish, however for one, I like taking photographs like this, and two, it proved that the Saints had been taking a look at quarterbacks late within the draft. New Orleans ought to take a look at signal-callers like Kellen Mond out of Texas A&M, Shane Buechele out of SMU or Feleipe Franks out of Arkansas and make a transfer on one.

Seven-round mock

Here is the prospects CBS NFL Draft author Josh Edwards has the Saints taking in his mock draft:

1 (28)

Kadarius Toney (WR)

Florida

2 (60)

Davis Mills (QB)

Stanford

3 (98)

Patrick Jones II (EDGE)

Pittsburgh

3 (105)

Chazz Surratt (LB)

North Carolina

4 (133)

Marvin Wilson (DT)

Florida State

6 (218)

Sadarius Hutcherson (OG)

South Carolina

7 (229)

Tommy Doyle (OT)

Miami (Ohio)

7 (255)

Mike Strachan (WR)

Charleston





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