So the Saints got out the credit card (again) and traded some Picks from 2023 to flip around with the Eagles, who were more than happy to settle for 2 Round One Picks instead of 3 for this year. The end result for now is that the Saints & Eagles pretty much own the middle of Round One… for the time being.
I for one hope the Saints are not thinking of trading up to over-draft a QB and waste valuable Draft Picks. And for my money, they now need to work around and with JAMEIS WINSTON, who was off to a fine start last season, pre-injury. So let’s get some Offensive help and add depth to an already talented D for new Head Coach DENNIS ALLEN.
Pick 16 TREVOR PENNING OT Northern Iowa 6’7/325 This massive man is also a brawler. He made multiple enemies in Mobile during practices, and those were his own teammates. Even in practice this guy was a force and dominant competitor. His Combine 4.89/40 at 325 was just amazing. His 34 1/8″ long arms are also an OL coach’s dream come true. He should be an instant replacement for TERRON ARMSTEAD, and teaming up with RT RYAN RAMCZYK would give the team one of the top OT tandems in the NFL. Instant starter, despite being from a small school conference.
Pick 19 JAMESON WILLIAMS WR Alabama 6’2/180 Before a leg injury in the Final 4 Championship game, he would have been a Top 10 Draftee. And the Saints can only hope he lasts this long. They can get by for a month or two with a receiving corps of THOMAS/CALLAWAY/SMITH if WILLIAMS needs some time to be 100% post-injury. Let’s just say he can take the top off a Defense with his healthy 4.3?/40 speed. Just in case you have forgotten, he had 79 receptions, for 1,572 yards and 15 TD’s before his injury. It is still highly questionable whether he lasts this long, but I like him for the Saints Offense… a lot.
Pick 49 SAM HOWELL QB North Carolina 6’1/218 I refuse to over-value QB talent because of the position they play. However, I think HOWELL is another guy who many think will never reach the Saints this late. He started 3 years for the Tar Heels. He has a well above average arm. He’s taller than Mr. BREES was and is quite mobile. A nice looking release time helps him beat the pass rush. He is not an instant starter, but if WINSTON is not the guy for the Saints starting job long term, HOWELL gives them a very good developmental option.
Pick 98 ALONTAE TAYLOR DB Tennessee 6’/199 Has the size to play S, and the speed (4.36/40 @ Combine) for the Corner. He may get a shot at both positions. Another young athlete I see as a future starter for the Saints. 32 1/4″ arms and an impressive 34 1/2″ Vertical at the Combine also stand out. Good value at this Pick. Underrated by way too many scouts.
Pick 120 DeANGELO MALONE ER/OB Western Kentucky 6’3/243 Can really bend it to come around the corner on a QB in the pocket. 4.60/40 at Combine with a 1.6 second/10 yard split off the snap. Had a vertical of 35 1/2″ which clearly speaks to his lower body explosion. His 33 1/8″ arms are helpful in keeping blockers off his body. He should be a very productive edge-rusher on obvious passing downs. Really like the value at this Pick with MALONE.
Pick 161 NEIL FARRELL DT LSU 6’4/330 Nothing fancy, but an immovable object to eat up blockers at the line-of-scrimmage. Shows surprising ability to penetrate and pressure the pocket as well. May not get many sacks, but will move the QB off his spot. Felt like I saw surprising energy to play more downs than the average big guy by FARRELL at LSU.
Pick 194 DANE BELTON S Iowa 6’1/205 Solid player against both the run and the pass. Typical fundamentally sound Hawkeyes player during the FERENTZ regime. 4.34/40 is a good number for a S. 7.01 second 3-cone is good, if not great. Will make an excellent Special Teams player. Should up their overall athleticism at the S position.
I think this group of players would bolster the depth of the Saints roster. I also believe we should also expect a few more Veteran Free Agent signings post-Draft. As of last week, the team was estimated to have a bit over $20-million left in Cap dollars to spend. But for now, the Draft is the point of emphasis, and I like my Picks here.