The New Orleans Saints screwed up this whole dang mock draft. We were just a few picks away from completing the first round of the 2022 Pride of Detroit Community Mock Drafts when the Saints pulled off a bizarre trade that, to simplify, gave the Saints an extra first-round pick this year in exchange for a few high picks over the next two drafts, including a 2023 first-round pick.
The Saints are up to something, but no one seems to know exactly what that is.
Unfortunately, it’s completely irrelevant to our interests here, because in the Community Mock reality, this trade never happened. The Philadelphia Eagles had back-to-back at 15 and 16, and took Jordan Davis and Devin Lloyd with those two picks.
So now it’s up to temporary Saints general manager—and POD commenter—GALionsfan to give New Orleans what they need to succeed in this post-Drew Brees, post-Sean Payton world.
Here’s the board GALionsfan is looking at.
POD Community Mock Draft picks so far:
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
- Detroit Lions: Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
- Houston Texans: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
- New York Jets: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
- New York Giants: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
- Carolina Panthers: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
- New York Giants: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
- Atlanta Falcons: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
- Seattle Seahawks: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
- New York Jets: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
- Washington Commanders: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
- Minnesota Vikings: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
- Houston Texans: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
- Baltimore Ravens: Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State
- Philadelphia Eagles: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
- Philadelphia Eagles: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
- Los Angeles Chargers: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
With the 18th pick in the POD Community Mock, the New Orleans Saints have selected Drake London, wide receiver out of USC.
Here’s GALionsfan with the explanation:
The Saints are in an interesting spot. They went all in to win another ring before Brees retired, but they failed and are now left with a team that’s not bad enough to warrant blowing it up and starting over, but they’re also not talented enough to be a serious championship contender. The defense is still good enough (although they are starting to show some cracks), but in order to level up to contender status, they need to improve the offense.
In 2021, they finished last in the league with only 202 (!) passing yards per game. While some of the blame can be placed on the QBs, even Tom Brady couldn’t win a championship with that supporting cast. They will hopefully get Michael Thomas back this year, but he’s almost 30, didn’t play a single game in 2021, and only played seven games in 2020. Even if he is able to come back at 100% of what he was, the Saints still need more weapons if they want to compete.
Usually, I’m opposed to addressing needs through the draft, but fortunately for the Saints, the best player on the board also fills one of their biggest needs – Drake London. Yes, the Saints need an upgrade at quarterback and left tackle, but there isn’t a prospect available at either position that is close to being worthy of the pick – and forcing needs in the draft is how teams end up regressing instead of progressing.
Drake London has the size (6-foot-4, 219 pounds) to create mismatch problems all over the field. He’s a contested catch machine, but unlike a lot of other big receivers, he has the separation ability to not have to solely rely on his contested catch skills. He also has enough speed to be a downfield threat (he’s not a burner, but when you’re big, you just have to be fast enough). In addition to his talent, I think his playing style and frame will mesh well with what Jameis Winston likes to do. This was an easy pick – and one the Saints would be thrilled to make on draft day.
The Saints really could go a lot of ways at this pick, and GALionsfan gets them a valuable player that could be a long-term replacement for Thomas. I like Alabama’s Jameson Williams a bit better as a fit and compliment for Thomas, but there are several people who will be scared away from his current ACL recovery.
In real life, the Saints reportedly made this trade because they believe they’re two first-round players away from competing again, but I’m honestly not sure that there are only two obvious spots that need improvement. The one need that is glaring is quarterback, and Mississippi’s Matt Corral and Cincinnatti’s Desmond Ridder are staring them in the face. If I had to guess, one of them would be in play here.
You can follow along with every pick + grades in our Community Mock Draft tracker.
What grade do you give this pick?
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