The New Orleans Saints are set to usher in a new era, an organization that saw Drew Brees as its starting quarterback the past 15 seasons. Fortunately for the Saints, they have been preparing for a world post-Brees as coach Sean Payton will have Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill battle for the quarterback job this summer.
The Saints pick at the back end of the first round, so getting one of the top five quarterbacks in the draft is out of the picture at the moment. New Orleans believes it can win with Hill or Winston as the starting quarterback, leaving the Saints to plug other holes on an already talented roster. Whether the Saints will win their fifth consecutive NFC South title is up in the air, but New Orleans should be in the mix for a playoff spot once again.
New Orleans hasn't picked a skill-position player in the first round since selecting wide receiver Brandin Cooks in 2014. Will this be the year New Orleans ends the streak, especially since the Saints can use all the offensive weapons possible to help their new quarterback?
Below is our seven-round mock draft for the Saints, which we'll use all eight picks (no trades):
|Round (Overall Pick)||Prospect||College|
Jayson Oweh (EDGE)
Asante Samuel Jr. (CB)
Hunter Long (TE)
Ar'Darius Washington (S)
Dazz Newsome (WR)
Brenden Jaimes (OT)
Garret Wallow (LB)
Jaret Patterson (RB)
Here's a breakdown of each of the selections:
Jayson Oweh (No. 28)
The Saints have a tough choice here in the mock draft simulator with Oweh and cornerback Caleb Farley on the board. Oweh's potential is way too much for New Orleans to pass up here. Oweh is an athletic freak at the position, and an ideal candidate to line up on the opposite end of Cameron Jordan (will have to beat out Marcus Davenport first).
Don't worry about his college numbers last year (finished with zero sacks), Oweh can generate enough burst off the edge to make life miserable for a quarterback in his rookie year. The Saints get an immediate contributor on defense.
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Asante Samuel Jr. (No. 60)
The Saints waste no time in finding a Week 1 starting cornerback to line up next to Marshon Lattimore, blessed Samuel slipped to No. 60. Samuel makes life difficult for opposing receivers with his physical play, which can also lead to unnecessary penalties.
Samuel's footwork is good enough to help out the Saints secondary, which has a defensive back wizard in assistant Kris Richard. Samuel will fill an immediate need at cornerback.
Hunter Long (No. 98)
Long is a pass-catching tight end that can track the ball and become a viable red-zone target. The Saints can pair him with Nick Vannett in "12" personnel and give Hill or Winston more options underneath. Long isn't the best run blocker, which is something he'll have to work on at the next level.
Ar'Darius Washington (No. 105)
The Saints get more depth at safety -- and more help in the secondary -- with the selection of Washington, who can read the quarterback well and is cerebral in understanding coverages. His size is a concern, but Washington can help out a safety unit that already has Malcolm Jenkins and Marcus Williams as starters.
At the worst, Washington will be a valuable backup.
Dazz Newsome (No. 133)
Newsome immediately competes with Deonte Harris for punt returner duties, as his speed provides a boost on special teams. Whether Newsome becomes more than a catch-and-run wideout remains to be seen, but he should compete for snaps amongst the Saints wideouts.
There's potential for Newsome to be an excellent slot receiver.
Brenden Jaimes (No. 218)
Jaimes can play both tackle positions and can move inside to guard, providing valuable depth on an already strong offensive line. While Jaimes is probably better suited for guard in the pros, the Saints have time to figure that out in his rookie year.
Garret Wallow (No. 229)
The Saints take a flyer on Wallow in the seventh round, as he can hunt for the football and provide depth as an inside linebacker. Wallow needs work on his tackling, but he can find a role on this defense as a reliable backup.
Jaret Patterson (No. 255)
The Saints find excellent value in Patterson, who can compete with Latavius Murray for carries in the running back rotation. Patterson led the Football Bowl Subdivision in rushing yards per game and is excellent in finding yards after contact.
If Patterson can improve as a pass catcher out of the backfield, the Saints will give him snaps as his rookie year progresses.