By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
The Saints enter the 2020 NFL draft with a tough choice to make with their 1st pick (24th overall). With only five total picks in the draft, New Orleans will need to concentrate on a few key positions.
The Quarterback position is key, at least for the near future. Drew Brees returned signing a two year contract, but many feel 2020 may be his last. Teddy Bridgewater was lost to free agency leaving Taysom Hill as the only other quarterback on the roster. Hill is a great athlete, playing a "slash" position for Sean Payton recently, but has not even shown an ability to be a capable NFL backup. I don't think he is the answer for replacing Brees. Some feel the Saints should look at quarterback in the first round. Utah State quarterback Jordan Love has been mentioned as a perfect match for New Orleans. Love, at 6'4" 224 lbs has impressed Sean Payton. “I see real good arm talent. I see a player that’s got a great release. He can throw from out of the pocket. He can throw inside the pocket,” Payton said. “He turned the ball over a lot this season. I think he was above 30 when you looked at his interceptions and fumbles. They had a coaching change, though, that I think hurt him to some degree. But someone that obviously is a talented prospect that’s probably going to get drafted in the first couple of rounds of this draft, first or second round of this draft.”
Having Love learn from Bress for a season or two would be an ideal situation for a young, talented franchise quarterback.
Another position the Saints feel the need to address is linebacker. AJ Klein signed with Buffalo. Two of the Saints returning linebackers, All-Pro Demario Davis is 31 yrs old, and Craig Robertson is 32 are up in age and going into their contract year. While Alex Anzalone and Kiko Alonso have both been injury plagued. With no 2nd round pick, does New Orleans choose to grab either Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray or LSU linebacker Patrick Queen? Adding youth at this position is key for this side of the football for the Saints.
Wide Receiver is a position that just seems to be lacking production. You can argue that Michael Thomas is probably the best receiver in the NFL today, but after him is a group of young underachievers who seem to struggle with consistency. The team did sign veteran Emmanuel Sanders, however Sanders is 33 years old. Tre'Quan Smith has shown flashes of improvement. But other then Thomas and TEs Jared Cook and Josh Hill, the Saints need another solid weapon here. Former Destrehan and LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson or Tee Higgins from Clemson may still be on the board when the Saints are up in round 1. Do they grab an explosive young receiver to compliment Thomas?
Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis have always done a great job evaluating talent and drafting the right players to fit the team's system and schemes. With the addition of some good free agent and the return of Drew Bress, I'd look for 2020 to be another dynamic season for the New Orleans Saints.