DRAFT PREVIEW: Picks 11 and 32 – New Orleans Saints

The Saints have two picks in the first round, courtesy of their recent trade with New England. How well will they use them?

Picks: 11 and 32 (from Patriots)

2016 Record: 7-9

What went right in 2016? 2016 was very much like 2015 in New Orleans. The defense struggled, the offense at times could hardly move the ball. That said, Drew Brees once again topped the NFL in passing yards (another 5000+ yard season for the veteran, and the NFL record for such things to boot) and only Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan threw more touchdowns. Against that performance, rookie receiver Michael Thomas had a fine season, too, hauling in nine of those touchdowns to finish top of the Class of ’16.

And what went wrong? The defense was still hopeless, allowing more points per game than anyone bar the 49ers. The running game went missing almost completely in some contests. Essentially, Brees and Thomas carried everyone else on this team.

What do they need? Wide Receiver, Linebacker, Cornerback

Who will they pick? With Brandin Cooks gone to New England (the return for that 32nd pick) the Saints will need someone to take the heat off Thomas, who will inevitably see more double-teams in 2017 anyway, but who will have an impossible job if he’s the only perceived receiving threat. They also need to fix that secondary, though. Remembering the years of success that Brees had with Jimmy Graham, they might be tempted to take the top-ranked tight end, Alabama’s OJ Howard, with the first pick rather than a true wideout and then take advantage of the number of good defensive players likely to be available at the bottom of the Draft, such as Adoree’ Jackson from USC or Washington’s Budda Baker.

Richard O’Hagan

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Richard O'Hagan
Writer on such diverse topics as sport, music, theatre, law and politics. Author of 'Eddie the Sheep'. Supporter of underachieving teams, including the Chicago Bears from before that brief, heady, period in the mid-1980s when they were actually any good. All I want for Christmas is a Jim McMahon away shirt.
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