Pigskin’s 2023 NFL Draft Team Grades SAINTS

May 14, 2023

I owe all the Saints fans down in the Big Easy and other points around Louisiana a major apology. I had worked up a Draft Grade and analysis for the SAINTS  just after the Draft ended. But other than talking about it briefly in radio conversation with Billy Ryckman on “The GOAT” radio station out of Lafayette, I never posted it in these pages.

Big oops, so let’s fix that  right now…

Round 1, Pick 29      BRYAN BRESEE     DT    Clemson    6’5/300     PP Rank 26   I have heard a lot of bitching and moaning about the Saints taking an injury prone guy. I will admit that he missed more games  than he played for the Tigers in his 3 years at Clemson, but his 2022 abbreviated season was despicable and torturous as he watched his teenage sister battle and die from a cancerous  brain tumor, then fell victim himself to multiple illnesses and injuries. But I will assume that the Combine medical work cleared him from lingering injury affects. That said he is an elite athlete, and that interior of the DL was a spot of need for  this team and its vaunted Defense.

Round 2, Pick 40     ISAIAH FOSKEY    DE/ER/OB   Notre Dame    6’5/265     PP Rank  57.    Once we got out of Round One I was OK with this Damer being selected anywhere in Round 2. He’s a savvy vet of the college wars, who has a knack for getting penetration into the pocket. Not sure if  I would count on him for double-digit sack totals every year, but he should pressure the pocket wherever he plays from. He is a guy who they should be looking to move around the defensive formation to keep an OL guessing where might  blitz from. Where’s FOSKEY.

Round 3, Pick 71       KENDRE   MILLER     RB     TCU    5’11/215      PP Rank 128      Yes, I thought this was a bit early (by a Round), but he was a serious run/catch threat for the Sonny Dykes-led team that surprised most to end up in the Final Four, despite getting demolished by GEORGIA in the finale. He is NOT  KAMARA, but he is tough guy who displays good after contact balance and his 4.40/40-time is in the top quadrant of the RB group in this Draft. Given the legal issues with afore-mentioned KAMARA, a smart move to get a  top quality young RB into the fold.

Round 4, Pick 103      NICK. SALDIVERI    IOL     Old Dominion   6’6/310     PP Rank 92     I thought this young man showed enough at the Senior Bowl and Combine to push him into Day Two of this Draft. Close but no cigar. This big  guy is going to land himself an IOL starting position soon  and allow the Saints to release one of their higher priced OG like PEAT or RUIZ. I like the value at the Pick.

Round 4, Pick 127    JAKE HAENER     QB    Fresno State    6’/210       PP Rank 167      Kinda looks like BREES back there in the pocket. No, I do NOT think he will be a future Hall of Famer like BREES, but he’s a savvy QB who made the Offense work at Fresno. Not a runner, but he can certainly extend plays by moving around in the pocket.  I would expect him to supplant WINSTON on their roster as CARR’s back-up  very soon.

Round 5, Pick 146     JORDAN HOWDEN    S    Minnesota    6’/205      PP Rank   203     Not sure he will ever be a starting S in the league, but he could spell an injured player for a week or two without exposing the secondary to abuse. I also believe that he has the attitude to battle it out as a core Special Teamer. Right now they have MATHIEU & MAYE, and some Special Teamers listed as their S group. This should upgrade the depth chart.

Round 6, Pick 195      A.T. PERRY     WR     Wake Forest    6’3/195       PP Rank  94      Yes, I had him in my Top 100, and so did  some others. Not sure if a medical concern arose or off field issues or whatever. His talent level is not that of a 6th Rounder. His 4.45/40 is not impressive, but at his height and with 33 1/4″ arms he is an impressive target. He had 81 catches for 1096 yards and 11 TD last season for Wake. Of 46 WR at the Combine he was ranked  14th athletically. This guy just does not play like a 6th Rounder to my eyes. If THOMAS’ leg/foot injuries have really finished him as anNFL star player, this guy could be a step-down, but adequate young replacement, IMO.


MICKEY LOOMIS, Saints GM, doesn’t usually blow us away with his Drafts, but he does find talent enough to keep his team competitive. And adding CARR pre-Draft thankfully took some pressure off drafting a starting QB. And, oh yes, one more last gift from the departed Coach PEYTON, the team got itself a missing First Round Pick replacement at 29.

And don’t forget that the SAINTS annually are one of the best organizations in the League at signing Undrafted Rookies to their post-Draft roster, and keeping some as they cut to their 53-man roster in September. That counts in every team’s Draft evaluation, as many folks refer to that as Day 4 of the Draft.


GRADE:     B-