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WHO DAT, WHO DAT, WHO DAT Calling themselves the Saints?
That’s the question that a few fans have been asking themselves since legendary quarterback Drew Brees and head coach Sean Payton have now left the team. Even though the team has had winning seasons over the last five years, it hasn’t been the same kind of effortlessness fans are used to.
Now with the new regime lead by Dennis Allen, New Orleans will look to get back to running the NFC South once again. How can they? With a stellar draft that thrusts them into the future and bolsters their present.
Round 1, Pick 16: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
Round 1, Pick 19: Tyler Linderbaum, OL, Iowa
The trade with the Philadelphia Eagles set the Saints up to be able to address the future as well as the right now.
Picking up a quarterback of the future as well as bolstering the offensive line would put them in prime position to improve on the rest of the roster in future knowing that their signal caller is already in the building.
Corral is a mobile quarterback with a high football IQ. His arm strength is underrated and he will flourish in a spread system like the one utilized in New Orleans. Having him sit behind Jameis Winston for a year or two would allow him to develop his game a little more and become the star he projects to be.
The Saints also should target a strong interior lineman and Linderbaum fits that description. He can play center or guard and possesses good strength and feet. His ability to get to the second level and wash linebackers in the run game is invaluable for a team predicated on their running back Alvin Kamara’s success.
Round 2, Pick 17: Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati
Round 3, Pick 34: Keeanu Benton, DL, Wisconsin
Day two can be great for the Saints because they can get impact players that fit their scheme.
Alec Pierce is a vertical threat receiver with good height and sticky hands. His long speed is underrated but he proved he can fly, running a sub-4.4 40 yard dash at the combine. Providing a reliable deep threat for Winston to throw to elevates the offense on every level.
Seeing as Dennis Allen is a defensive coach, bolstering that side of the ball will be on the docket as well. Benton provides a dynamic interior pass rusher who can stuff the run. Placing him between Cam Jordan and Marcus Davenport would give the Saints a three down force up front. If the Saints are to get back to prominence then getting to the quarterback should be one of the top priorities and Benton would help tremendously.
Round 4, Pick 15: JoJo Domann, LB, Nebraska
Round 5, Pick 18: Yusuf Corker, Safety, Kentucky
Round 6, Pick 15: Christian Benford, CB, Villanova
The last day of the draft should be a fill up day for the New Orleans franchise.
The team needs depth at some key positions on defense and with only three picks on day three, they have to make them count.
Attacking the secondary should be something the front office looks into seeing as some talented players will still be on the board. Two of those said players are Corker and Benford.
Benford is a solid man-cover corner with excellent ball production. He is a larger corner but doesn’t have issues with flipping his hips and running with shifty receivers. Corker is a solid tackling safety with good anticipation. He also has solid ball production and could serve as a special teamer and situational coverage safety early on.
Domann is the most intriguing because though a slighter built linebacker, he could develop into a stout nickel-back at the next level. He isn’t afraid of contact and sticks tight ends on underneath routes. The Saints could use him as a Swiss Army Knife type player on the defense, similar to how they use Taysum Hill on offense.
This could be a very fruitful draft for New Orleans in their quest to take the NFC South back. If they send those cards to the podium and they call these names we could see the Saints marching into a playoff spot come January.