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2017 Draft Analysis: New Orleans Saints


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After 3 straight 7-9 finishes, no playoffs and a defense that can't seem to make anything happen the Saints had to hit a home run with almost every off season move. While they didn't get the big free agents like OL Kevin Zeitler or talented CB A.J. Bouye, they did solidify areas of need with acquisitions such as Larry Warford at RG, A.J. Klein at MLB and brought in future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson at RB. Now it's time to analyze how they drafted.

2017 NFL draft

Round 1, Pick 11:

Selection: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

My take: Holy smokes the Saints got a top 5 talent. He's arguably the best corner of this draft and fills in a very important need for New Orleans. While they were linked to Malcolm Butler, Trumaine Johnson and Richard Sherman, they got a player they can mold and develop without giving too much away. I love this pick and was not expecting him to drop outside the top 10. I think the Saints CB depth with talented Delvin Breaux, P.J. Williams, Sterling Moore and now Marshon Lattimore have a great group and great depth.

Grade: A

Round 1, Pick 32:

Selection: Ryan Ramczyk, OL, Wisconsin

My take: Okay this caught me off guard a little bit. Even though DE, S and many more positions were NEEDS at that pick, according to the team Ryan Ramzcyk was the Best Player Available. And that I can agree with. While it's true that the team can use all the help it can get on the defensive side, getting arguably the best offensive lineman in the draft to solidify an already strong position was a luxury pick as I tweeted out when the selection happened. The Saints currently have Terron Armstead and Zach Strief at LT and RT respectively, a solid duo. The problem is Armstead has health issues and hasn't played much over the past few seasons while Strief is getting older but not necessarily slowing down. This is a contingency plan and it's a very good one.

Grade: B+

Round 2, Pick 42:

Selection: Marcus Williams, S, Utah

My Take: And another DB selected in this draft. This time the Saints get a guy they envision playing a solid high S style, something Jarius Byrd never lived up to. Williams is a freak of nature to me and he makes serious plays. He can easily start week 1 and adds depth to an already good safety set with Vonn Bell, Kenny Vaccaro and Rafael Bush. Williams is a player I like and I do see a possible steal.

Grade: B

Round 3, Pick 67:

Selection: Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee

My take: So after a 1000 yard rushing season by Mark Ingram and signing Adrian Peterson, the Saints trade up to draft a RB? Yes and what a great move it was. Why? Because the Saints offense dominated year after year with great specialist backs like Bush and Sproles and now they have a young guy who can do it. Ingram and Peterson can focus on the rushing while Kamara can come in and play screens, catch from the back field or even play some wide receiver. Getting round 2 talent in the 3rd round is always a solid thing. Also, Alvin Kamara is a talented RB who can potentially move up in the depth chart.

Grade: B+

Round 3, Pick 76:

Selection: Alex Anzalone

My take: Many good players were still available when the Saints were on the board. The pick? Nope, not Carl Lawson or Derek Rivers but LB Alex Anzalone. Yes he does have injury problems and lacks that Reuben Foster/Jarrad Davis LB fight but this kid has talent. Watching film of him before the draft made me think he could possibly add depth if he was available in the 4th or 5th if the Saints were going to trade up but he was picked early and I’m not mad in any way.

Grade: B

Round 3, Pick 103:

Selection: Trey Hendrickson, DE

My Take: It’s about time the Saints addressed their DE need. It might look like a “Let’s draft a DE so the fans can stop harassing us” but people forget how good Hendrickson can be. He’s no Garrett, Barnett or Harris but he’s a project who can become solid nonetheless. I agree with Roy Anderson from Fansided who said “Sean Payton and the Saints will give Hendrickson all the opportunities to win the DE position across Cam Jordan who needs help. Hendrickson can start week 1 depending on a) How Okafor plays b) Whether Kikaha plays DE or LB c) Outside factors such as a trade or a cut impact the Saints. To conclude, Hendrickson is not a household name but don’t be surprised if he gets quite a few snaps in pre-season.

Grade: B-

Round 6, Pick 196:

Selection: Al-Quidin Muhammad, DE

My Take: I had no idea who this guy was when the Saints drafted him. After watching some film of him I can see why the Saints drafted him but at the end of the day he’s a 6th round pick. Not saying he’s got no chance but he needs to work harder because 195 players got picked ahead of him. I believe he flies under the radar and can come in when needed and add some depth. Let’s hope he proves those who didn’t draft him wrong.

Grade: C+

Final Thoughts: The Saints ended the draft with possible starters at multiple positions. I think at the end of the day they would have liked Malcolm Butler but getting arguably the best corner in the draft was a steal and a pleasant surprise. I give this draft a B+. The reason why it’s not an A is because I would have liked some picks to be addressed differently but won’t complain with the players drafted. Now off to training camp and hope this team can rebound because and make the playoffs.
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