The choices are made, and before we know it, New Orleans Saints rookies will be choosing their jersey numbers and heading to the practice field. With the 2022 NFL Draft almost in the books, it’s time for a quick recap of the Saints’ moves and the players they’ve added to the fold. Here are our preliminary ratings for each pick made in New Orleans, along with polls for you to vote on and show whether you agree or disagree:
Round 1, Pick 11: WR Chris Olave
The only criticism I have for this pick is that the Saints had to trade for Olave, shipping a pair of mid-round picks that ultimately turned into Alabama running back Brian Robinson Jr. (to COs Washington) and Penn State linebacker Brandon Smith (to the Carolina Panthers, via Washington). Having those picks would have been nice, but having Olave next to Michael Thomas at the top of the depth chart is better. The move solved the biggest issue the Saints needed to address, and now fans can expect Olave to frustrate defensive backs for the foreseeable future.
NOTE: A[crowdsignal poll=11105399]
Round 1, Pick 19: LT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa
Penning isn’t quite a plug-and-play starter, which you’d expect in the first round, but he may have found the best possible landing spot to ease his transition into the NFL. He is about to face a serious leap in the quality of competition and needs to smooth out some flaws in his game, such as a propensity for penalties and some leverage issues in pass protection. Having a former NFL head coach working with him in Doug Marrone and a longtime starter at the back of Zach Strief should set him up well, and the Saints can stick with James Hurst at left tackle if they need to. .
CATEGORY B[crowdsignal poll=11105402]
Round 2, Pick 49: DB Alontae Taylor, Tennessee
Perhaps the first misstep of the draft so far, Taylor was picked much earlier than expected (Athletic’s consensus big board averaged 82 different rankings and projected him to No. 112) and need work before it’s ready to start; Paulson Adebo should be able to hold him at cornerback, and Taylor might be a better long-term fit when it comes to safety. He missed too many tackles and didn’t show great ball skills in college, although he’s still physical and should help the Saints get better at covering punts. You’d just rather find a more immediate contributor this early in the draft.
CLASS: C[crowdsignal poll=11105403]
Round 5, Pick 161: LB D’Marco Jackson, Appalachian State
There’s a lot to like about this pick. Jackson is one of the most experienced special teams players in the draft (with 630 snaps in the kicking game behind him) and he’s a terrific straight-line athlete who can punish teams between tackles. But he hasn’t had to play as many reps in pass coverage as he’ll see in the NFL, and could take a while to get up to speed in that area. That said, at the end of the draft, you’re just looking for players who can dress up on game days, and his special teams value should pay off big time, although we don’t see many shots of him with the Defense. saints.
CATEGORY B[crowdsignal poll=11105405]
Round 6, Pick 194: DT Jordan Jackson, Air Force
He’s listed as a top runner, but Jackson is going to play inside with the Saints, and that’s where he’s done his best work at the college level. Jackson is perhaps the most athletic defensive tackle in New Orleans after David Onyemata, and he’s well positioned to play as a rookie often in the rotation with Onyemata, Shy Tuttle and a few other players. He’s older, but that’s not unusual in this draft class after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted so many plans. I really like this choice, although I would have preferred a running back or a tight end to continue to recharge the attack. Still, you can’t complain this late in the draft.
CATEGORY B[crowdsignal poll=11105406]