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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Saints hoping to land ‘three of the top 20 or 25’ prospects after big Eagles trade

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What will the New Orleans Saints do with their new picks in the 2022 NFL draft? Will they package Nos. 16 and 19 in a trade up even further, targeting a quarterback? Stay put and pick the best available players (one of which could be a passer), whether it’s an exciting receiver prospect or a meat-and-potatoes-loving lineman? There are several viable directions New Orleans could go.

If you ask Saints general manager Mickey Loomis, and Peter King did just that for his Football Morning in America column at NBC Sports, he would respond with: “We could sit where we are right now and get three of the top 20 or 25 on our board.” King adds that Loomis expects the high variance of player grades across the league to help some prospects the Saints value reach them later than anticipated.

Every team builds a “big board” ranking the top prospects across every position group, and each player is graded differently. With their board nearly set, Loomis and the Saints see a good opportunity to load up on highly-rated players both in the first round and outside of it, with their next selection scheduled at No. 49 overall. Other teams may not rate a player inside their top 20 or 25, but at the end of the day only New Orleans’ grade matters. And they would feel fantastic to walk away from this class with three premier prospects.

Restocking the depth chart with cheap rookie contracts is going to be important moving forwards. The Saints lost star players like left tackle Terron Armstead (to the Miami Dolphins) and free safety Marcus Williams (to the Baltimore Ravens) this offseason, so making these moves to replace them is a savvy strategy. If New Orleans can address their top need at wide receiver while replenishing those positions early on, it would be tough to complain about it.

Of course there are other directions the Saints could go. It’s not a guarantee that they’ll spend premium draft picks on those positions. There are other areas the team could look to improve at quarterback, defensive tackle, and tight end, among others. What’s clear from Loomis’ comments to King is that he sees an opportunity for the Saints to reload and go compete in 2022.

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Full 2022 Saints mock draft with an unconventional first round selection

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