Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
John Sigler

Re-drafting for the Saints in latest 3-round Draft Wire projection after free agency

The first week of free agency signings has come and gone, so it’s time for an updated 2023 NFL mock draft from our own Jeff Risdon over at Draft Wire, who has the New Orleans Saints acting quickly to improve their receiving corps as well as their depth on the other side of the ball.

But are these the best picks for the Saints given the prospects available at each draft slot? We took a stab at what might be best for New Orleans based off the other picks in Risdon’s projection. Here’s what we would do differently — and what we would keep the same:

Round 1

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Draft Wire’s pick: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State

Our pick: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State

No complaints here. The Saints can’t expect Michael Thomas to be healthy for 17 games after the way the last three years have gone for him, and the chemistry in having a couple of young Buckeyes receivers who have looked up to him would be fantastic. Having Thomas, Smith-Njigba, Chris Olave, and Rashid Shaheed on top of the depth chart is a great proposition. Smith-Njigba caught 9 of his 10 contested catches in 2021 while converting 67 first downs (on 95 receptions), also forcing 19 missed tackles after the catch. How’s that for a strong supporting cast for Derek Carr?

Round 2

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Draft Wire’s pick: LB Drew Sanders, Arkansas

Our pick: DL Adetomiwa Adebawore, Northwestern

Sanders is a nice prospect, and the Saints could use a succession plan for Demario Davis at linebacker. He was the best available prospect in this scenario. But he wouldn’t be playing much right away for the Saints behind Davis and Pete Werner, which leads us to Adebawore. He mainly played on the edge at Northwestern but has been going through drills as an interior lineman, and he could be very dynamic in that role at defensive tackle. Picture him rotating in and out of the lineup with Nathan Shepherd and Khalen Saunders, playing about 30 snaps a game to start, while preparing for a heavier workload later in the year.

Round 3

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Draft Wire’s pick: LB Daiyan Henley, Washington State

Our pick: Trade up for TE Luke Musgrave, Oregon State

Look, depth is important, and Henley is a solid prospect, but the Saints don’t need the draft two linebackers. Especially not with their top picks. So we’ll go in another direction and address the biggest remaining need at tight end, trading up with either the Chicago Bears (at No. 61) or the Philadelphia Eagles (at No. 62) to get in front of the Kansas City Chiefs, who picked Musgrave at No. 63. That move up from No. 70 probably costs picks in rounds five and seven, but Musgrave might be worth it. He’s the best big-play threat at tight end in the 2023 draft and he can block, too. He would be a clear upgrade over Adam Trautman behind Juwan Johnson. But doesn’t this feel like an area the Saints will address in free agency?

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.