John Lepore | March 1st, 2020
Again, the New Orleans Saints‘ season ended before the Super Bowl. And for the second time in three seasons, it was at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings on the last play of the game. They finished 13-3 but missed out on a bye week due to a tough early-season loss to the Los Angeles Rams (the game Drew Brees got hurt in), a horrible loss to the division rival Atlanta Falcons in early November, and with their fate in their hands, lost a shootout to the eventual NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers.
Enough dwelling on the past. Today we look forward to April 23-25 and talk about who the Saints will be taking in the NFL Draft. They only have five picks this year as they are without a second or seventh-round pick. They don’t have many needs, but the ones they do have are glaring. I don’t address the quarterback situation as it is unsolved whether Brees, Teddy Bridgewater, Taysom Hill, or someone else will be behind center. The Saints can definitely address other needs in this year’s draft, and I think they will continue to do well with only a few picks at their disposal.
To help with this mock draft, I used the Fanspeak mock draft simulator.
Make sure to check out all of our other NFL team mock drafts here.
Round 1, Pick 24: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
A dream scenario here would be to grab Justin Jefferson. He played his college ball at LSU and had a great season for the Tigers catching 111 passes and racking up 1,540 yards with 18 TDs. Jefferson has good size at 6’1 and 202 lbs and has very good hands. He has excellent body control and maintains balance. At the combine, he ran an official 4.43. He played mostly slot at LSU and is good in traffic. The Saints have needed a reliable number two to Michael Thomas since he came in the league and Jefferson fits that mold.
Round 3, Pick 88: Logan Stenberg, OG, Kentucky
He’s a massive guy at 6’7 and 322 lbs. He profiles as the third interior lineman in the draft. Stenberg was a beast blowing holes for Benny Snell in 2018 at Kentucky. If the Saints can land a monster in the middle of the O-line, it could go a long way to re-establishing the running attack with Latavius Murray and Alvin Kamara, not to mention keeping either Brees or Bridgewater clean.
Round 4, Pick 127: Evan Weaver, LB, California
Weaver has shown he can prove people wrong. The guy just has an instinct for the ball and is a sure tackler. His knock has been that his physical attributes may not make up for any mistakes in diagnosing a play. At 6’2 and 237 lbs, he is a solid body. His intelligence and constant motor are what get him drafted here. The tackling prowess can’t be denied as he’s made 341 tackles (191 solo) in his past two years at Cal. His versatility also makes this a good pick as he can read passes and get to the quarterback with seven sacks since his Junior year.
Round 5, Pick 169: Ke’Shawn Vaughn, RB, Vanderbilt
With Kamara’s contract up after this season, the Saints may be willing to take a shot on a back late. Vaughn ran an official 4.51 at the Combine and has the speed to turn in big plays if open in space. One of the knocks on him is his burst off the line, but once he gets going he can be hard to stop. At 5’10 and 214 lbs, Vaughn has prototypical size for an NFL RB. If the Saints want another pass-catching RB to replace Kamara after the season, this could be their guy.
Round 6, Pick 203: Levonta Taylor, CB, Florida State
The Saints will definitely be looking to replace either CB or Safety as Eli Apple and Vonn Bell are both free agents. Taylor could play either. He is highly competitive and has a toughness that Sean Payton would love. The versatility could be a plus as the Saints could deploy him in a blitz, in over-the-top coverage, or as a slot defender. We all know the reputation of DBs from Florida State, and even if he needs some work in coverage, using a sixth-round pick on a player that can fit multiple needs even as a backup is great.
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