Former college football player and NFL coach, Jon Gruden recently said he “wouldn’t be shocked at all” if the New Orleans Saints were to draft a quarterback in the first round of this year’s NFL draft but it would “take a real stud to come in there and take the keys away from Drew Brees.”
To be fair, Drew Brees is entering his 17th NFL season and while the Saints will be in need of a QB in the next few years, Brees hasn’t shown any significant signs of slowing up. In 2016, the 38-year-old threw for over 5,000 yards, marking the fifth time in his career (no other player has more than one) and led the NFL in passing yards for the seventh time in his career. Appreciate him while you can.
If the Saints plan on winning their second Super Bowl anytime soon, they need to use at least six out of their seven draft picks on the defensive-side of the ball.
The Saints own the following picks for the 2017 NFL Draft:
First round: 11th, 32nd
Second round: 10th
Third round: 12th, 39th
Sixth round: 12th
Seventh round: 11th
Do: The Saints don’t have much of a choice, they must select a defensive-end with their first pick of the draft (11th overall). The Saints defense has ranked sixth or worse in the last three seasons and while the secondary has been struggling, the pass rush has been even worse. Derek Barnett (Tennessee) or Reuben Foster (Alabama) are just a few names that could be suiting up for New Orleans in 2017.
Do: While this year’s draft class offers an excess of defensive help, the Saints should look to improve their depth at the tight end position. Coby Fleener showed flashes in 2016 but the 28-year-old had just 631 yards and three touchdowns. Those 631 yards were actually Fleener’s second-most yards accumulated in a season, but Drew Brees tends to favor throwing to his tight-ends and coach Payton may want to draft a young tight end for Brees to begin developing.
Don’t: Pull the trigger too early on a running back
It’s no secret, most mock drafts point to the Saints selecting a defensive-end with their first pick, but don’t be surprised if they elect to draft a running back such as Leonard Fournette or Christian McCaffrey. The Saints are in need of a running back to share carries with Mark Ingram, but the defense must be the main priority, especially in the first round. Former Minnesota Vikings running back, Adrian Peterson met with New Orleans last week but if he chooses not to sign, the Saints must not pull the trigger too early on a running back.
Don’t: Don’t use a first-round pick on a quarterback
There will certainly be many enticing players still available when the Saints pick for their second time (32nd overall) but this pick should be dedicated to a cornerback. The secondary has been a dumpster fire for the Saints for the last few years but due to the cornerback depth in this year’s draft, Sean Payton may finally be able to have some new options in his secondary. Quincy Wilson (Florida) and Adoree’ Jackson (Southern California) may be viable options for New Orleans if they are still on the board, but this pick certainly shouldn’t be used on a quarterback.
The first-round of the NFL Draft will begin on Apr. 27, 2017.