Our latest 2024 NFL mock draft roundup found that the experts are predicting the New Orleans Saints will target pass rushers, offensive linemen, and wide receivers with their first pick in the upcoming selection event. And all of those positions make sense for a Saints team that has struggled to win at the line of scrimmage and consistently generate big plays.
Here’s a quick look at the 2024 draft prospects being linked to the Saints:
Draft Wire’s Curt Popejoy has a two-round projection in which the Saints invested heavily in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
Round 1, Pick 19: EDGE Chop Robinson, Penn State
We’d like to see more consistency from Chop Robinson but there’s no doubt when he’s on he is an elite pass rusher.
Robinson is a little undersized for the Saints’ standards, but they can’t afford to be so picky when they’re tied for the second-fewest sacks in the NFL (18 in 11 games).
Round 2, Pick 48 (via Denver): LT Jordan Morgan, Arizona
A new left tackle makes sense given Trevor Penning’s struggles to hold down that position, but that would be tough to swallow given everything the Saints have invested in Penning.
SI’s Luke Easterling also published a mock draft with multiple rounds, though the Saints don’t own a third-round pick this year after sending it to Denver to facilitate the Sean Payton trade. And he also has New Orelans adding an offensive lineman.
Round 1, Pick 19: OL Troy Fautanu, Washington
If the Saints are gonna get their money’s worth for Derek Carr (and keep him healthy), the offensive line has to get some big upgrades this offseason. Fautanu is a powerful blocker with impressive quickness and athleticism who has lined up at left tackle for the Huskies, but projects better as a dominant guard in the NFL.
Round 2, Pick 47 (via Denver): WR Adonai Mitchell, Texas
The 6-foot-4, 196-pound junior receiver downfield and he could help Derek Carr do a better job airing out the football to make plays vertically. Mitchell led the Longhorns with 9 touchdown catches this season after transferring from Georgia.
CBS Sports’ Josh Edwards likes the Saints to add more help off the edge. They’ve drafted a lot of early-round pass rushers in recent years, and the 6-foot-4, 270-pound J.T. Tuimoloau would continue the Ohio State pipeline running to New Orleans.
Round 1, Pick 19: DE J.T. Tuimoloau, Ohio State
J.T. Tuimoloau is a heavy-handed pass rusher who gives New Orleans desired depth in that room with Carl Granderson and Cam Jordan.
Yahoo! Sports’ Nate Tice is in agreement: Tuimoloau should be a Saint. Tuimoloau only had 4 sacks this season (with 11 in his career), but his pass-rush win rate (14% at Pro Football Focus) is impressive.
Round 1, Pick 19: DE J.T. Tuimoloau, Ohio State
A pretty clean player and team fit here! The Trevor Penning experience is not going well in New Orleans, so I am unsure if they will double down with another offensive tackle in the first round. Instead, I’m going with the strong-handed Tuimoloau to slot right in on the Saints’ defensive line.
Tuimoloau brings it on every snap and would bring even more youth to this thumping defensive line that extended Carl Granderson on a breakout year and added Bryan Bresee in the first round of the 2023 draft. Tuimoloau would also give Cameron Jordan a possible successor to his style on the Saints’ front.
The 33rd Team
The 33rd Team’s Connor Livesay has the Saints going with a high-risk, high-reward pick. Laitau Latu is the best pure pass rusher in the 2024 draft class but there are injury concerns stemming from a neck injury that forced him into medical retirement at Washington; he transferred to UCLA, who would let him play, and he’s developed into a star.
Round 1, Pick 12: EDGE Laiatu Latu, UCLA
The New Orleans Saints‘ dominant defense has taken a step back in 2023, but it still has plenty of pieces to build on in 2024. Adding the talent of Laiatu Latu would instantly upgrade a pass rush that has struggled in 2023.
NBC Sports Chicago
NBC Chicago’s Glynn Morgan has an unconventional pick at wide receiver. The Saints could use a replacement for Michael Thomas if this is his last year with the team and Florida State’s Keon Coleman would be an ideal fit.
Round 1, Pick 19: WR Keon Coleman, Florida State
Coleman’s ability to create separation and leverage his wide catching radius against defenders projects favorably at the next level. Currently, Coleman is catching passes at a rate of 13.7 yards per reception while having caught 11 touchdown passes in just 10 games.
FOX Sports’ Jason McIntyre is incorrect about multiple Saints starting offensive linemen being free agents (Andrus Peat is the only one), but he’s right to look for help up front. Oregon State right tackle Taliese Fuaga is an impressive player but he’d have to move to the left side in New Orleans, possibly converting to guard instead of tackle.
Round 1, Pick 19: RT Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State
Two starting offensive linemen are free agents and one would assume a defensive coach pushes to improve the running game. Fuaga, who is soaring up draft boards with an awesome season, could be the guy here.
Pro Football Network
Pro Football Network’s Ian Valentino assembled a monster of a seven-round mock draft, but we’ll focus on his picks in the first two rounds.
Round 1, Pick 19: WR Adonai Mitchell, Texas
How 6’4″, 195-pound Adonai Mitchell runs routes is astounding to watch. His flexibility and acceleration for his height are truly rare. New Orleans could use a quarterback upgrade more, but with Derek Carr’s contract structure, adding another top-tier receiver makes more immediate sense.
Round 2, Pick 47 (via Denver): S Kamren Kinchens, Miami
As soon as Kamren Kinchens stepped onto the field for the Hurricanes, he became a leader on their defense, even as a freshman. He started in five games and played over 500 defensive snaps in his first year. Kinchens became an All-American in his second year and led the team with six interceptions.
NFL Mocks’ Beau Adams has the Saints going for better protection, which makes sense, but he’s also asking a right tackle to move to the left side. The good news is that JC Lathem played left tackle in high school before winning the starting job on the right side at Alabama, where he’s held it down for two years.
Round 1, Pick 19: OL JC Latham, Alabama
They’ve given up on Penning and moved Peat from guard to LT. It’s not working. Carr is smart enough to get the ball out before trouble but has no chance without protection on his blindside. JC Latham is a towering prospect at 6’7 360 and should be pro-ready out of Bama. The Saints desperately need to make this move as they hope fixing up their line will propel their offense to the next level.
The Athletic’s Dane Brugler is another analyst signaling wide receiver as a position of need for the Saints, and he likes Coleman as a fit in New Orleans’ offense.
Round 1, Pick 12: WR Keon Coleman, Florida State
The Saints love to draft flashy new toys, and Coleman comes batteries included and fully assembled. At 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, he is a large target, but there is nothing lumbering about the way he moves. He is at his best winning at the catch point and can create explosive plays — New Orleans currently ranks 24th in the NFL in plays of 20-plus yards.
Many draft experts are predicting the Saints will upgrade their pass rush in next year’s first round, or else improve protection along the offensive line, with a few others calling for more high-end talent in the receiving corps. The latest round of first round prospects for the Saints:
- DE J.T. Tuimoloau, Ohio State: 2
- WR Keon Coleman, Florida State: 2
- EDGE Chop Robinson, Penn State: 1
- EDGE Laiatu Latu, UCLA: 1
- OL JC Latham, Alabama: 1
- OL Troy Fautanu, Washington: 1
- OL Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State: 1
- WR Adonai Mitchell, Texas