The New Orleans Saints sure know how to suck the air out of the room on draft night.
I’m not quite sure why this still surprises fans, because at this point, it’s an annual occurrence. Fans study the mock drafts from several publications and weigh the possibilities of picks over in their head. It enters our everyday life conversations, where fans put their own spin on prospects and say what they like or what they don’t like.
And then what do the Saints do? Like clockwork, New Orleans takes a player completely off the radar in round one before following with more puzzling picks across the draft.
I have to admit this annual process fascinates me. On one hand, fans struggle to reason with it. And instead they rage. “You’re taking a lineman in the first round for the sixth time in the last seven years? Why! Don’t you know ‘we’ have bigger needs at corner and linebacker? Elijah Moore (Ole Miss wide receiver) was right there and you took this lineman (Payton Turner) who the experts had going in the second round? You reached!”
Pretty spot on impression, eh?
The other typical response from this duality of fanship is a more reasonable one. “Well, I don’t understand it, but I trust the Saints. They’ve hit more than they’ve missed in recent years when it comes to the draft.”
So where do you fall?
It’s complicated, right? And so is the draft process. Saints general manager Mickey Loomis has gone out of his way to point this out.
Loomis told reporters the Saints went out of their way to trade into the Top 10, but teams were simply asking for too much.
This was his direct quote, “I think in the last 20 years there’s only been four or five times where a team went from the 20s into the top 10. For someone to do that, they want a ransom.”
The Saints watched players like Moore and Georgia corner Tyson Campbell come off the board early into the second round, so New Orleans stayed put and selected Pete Werner, a linebacker out of Ohio State, later in the round. You’d hope that fills the need of a starting linebacker next to Demario Davis.
Then the Saints made a familiar move when they traded two third round picks to move up 22 spots to select Stanford corner Paulson Adebo. On paper, that fills the most obvious need the Saints have, and this is what The Athletic’s Dane Brugler had to say about it:
“The Saints needed to come away with a cornerback somewhere on day two and they land Adebo at a pretty good value in the third round. An upright, leggy corner, a false step can be a death sentence for him, but he has terrific size and speed with the ball skills that jump off the page with 38 passes defended in two seasons.”
Let’s be honest, that death sentence line makes him sound a Saints corner already. They know all about biting with a false step.
In total, it’s hard not to consider this a disappointing draft for the Saints.
Sure, you never truly know how these draft picks will turn out, and Loomis and company have earned the benefit of doubt over the years for their ability to properly evaluate talent.
But the head-scratching picks are starting to pile up, and with this franchise turning a new page, that’s worrisome.
The Saints could make up for reaches like Marcus Davenport in the past, but New Orleans had a guy named Drew Brees back then too. Without Brees, these misses in the draft are going to become more glaring.