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Draft Analysis

NFL Draft Needs: Saints

by Evan Silva
Updated On: April 15, 2019, 2:53 am ET

Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is Rotoworld's Senior NFL Editor, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) is Rotoworld's lead Draft Analyst. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential solutions in April’s draft.

For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.

Notable Pre-Draft Additions: C Nick Easton, DT Malcom Brown, TE Jared Cook, RB Latavius Murray, CB/PR Marcus Sherels, DE Mario Edwards.

Starting Offense

QB: Drew Brees
RB: Alvin Kamara
WR1: Michael Thomas
WR2: Ted Ginn
SLWR: Keith Kirkwood
TE: Jared Cook
LT: Terron Armstead
LG: Andrus Peat
C: Nick Easton
RG: Larry Warford
RT: Ryan Ramczyk

Starting Defense

RE: Marcus Davenport
LE: Cameron Jordan
NT: Malcom Brown
3T: Sheldon Rankins
MLB: Demario Davis
WLB: Alex Anzalone
SLB: A.J. Klein
LCB: Eli Apple
RCB: Marshon Lattimore
SCB: Patrick Robinson
FS: Marcus Williams
SS: Vonn Bell

Team Needs

Silva's Analysis

Defensive Line: The 2018 Saints finished top five in sacks (49) and top 10 in both tackles for loss (96) and QB hits. One of New Orleans’ strongest position groups is in danger of taking a step back, however, with DT Rankins (Achilles’) in doubt for Week 1, key role players Alex Okafor and Tyeler Davison gone in free agency and DT David Onyemata entering his contract year at risk of a marijuana-related suspension.

Pass Catcher: Among the biggest reasons for the Saints’ second-half offensive downturn was a pass-catching talent shortage behind Thomas. Cook is a 32-year-old rental, Ginn is 34 and Tre’Quan Smith didn’t show enough as a rookie to be counted on for a full-time role.

Secondary: Even as New Orleans’ first-team secondary is among the league’s best, Apple, Bell and P.J. Williams are in contract years, while Robinson enters his age-32 season coming off an ankle fracture with ligament damage. Marcus Williams and Lattimore will require new deals soon. The Saints need to be prepared to make several difficult decisions on who to retain in their secondary, and who to let walk.

 

Saints 2019 Draft Picks

Norris' Options

2 (62). WR N’Keal Harry, Arizona State - The name often brought up (positively) for Harry is Marques Colston. The Saints don’t have a locked in slot receiver, instead choosing to use multiple players in that role. The team knows this is their window to win. They have Drew Brees. A trade down from this spot makes sense with zero picks until the fifth round, but if not, continue to make a strength stronger, and that is the offense.

5 (168). LB Kaden Elliss, Idaho - With the way this linebacker class is stacked, the two Devins at the top and a cliff after, expect to hear a few interesting names selected earlier than ranked. Elliss is one of those. He has an NFL pedigree, is one of the best athletes in this linebacker class and has experience rushing the passer and even covering slot options.

5 (177). DL Daniel Wise, Kansas - As Evan mentioned, the Saints might be in need of some interior depth with a focus on disruption. Wise is Seatrich’s brother, but is more of an inside player and flashed one on one ability both during his time at Kansas and during East-West Shrine week.

6 (202). CB Derrick Baity, Kentucky - At 6-foot-2 and nearly 200 pounds, Baity certainly has the frame to play on the outside. He was used there often at Kentucky and did a solid job of staying in phase and attacking the catch point. But Baity also showcased enough movement skills and willingness to be aggressive in trash to play in the slot as well.

7 (231). OL Brandon Hitner, Villanova - A tackle prospect who likely moves inside in the NFL. Per NFL Network, the Saints hosted Hitner for a visit.

7 (244). RB Jalin Moore, App State - Latavius Murray is certainly a solid complement to Alvin Kamara and it would not be surprising to see Murray equal Mark Ingram’s 170-plus touches from 2018. Still, there’s zero depth behind those two.

Evan Silva
Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .