New Orleans Saints 7-Round Mock Draft
The New Orleans Saints are a team in transition as they continue their search for a long-term answer at quarterback.
The Saints could have one of those needs met with the addition of Derek Carr, who they were able to acquire in a trade with the Raiders this offseason during free agency. They kicked the tires on Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay, as well, but that obviously didn’t work out.
However, New Orleans still has needs at linebacker, defensive tackle, running back (Alvin Kamara is likely to be facing a suspension), tight end, defensive line, defensive end, wide receiver, pass rush lineman, and offensive line. It’s going to be a challenge for GM Mickey Loomis and head coach Dennis Allen as they also find themselves in salary cap trouble. Not to mention, the Saints have just eight total selections in the 2023 NFL Draft
Let’s take a look at the draft capital they have in the 2023 NFL Draft.
- Round 1, Pick 29 (from DEN via MIA and SF)
- Round 2, Pick 40
- Round 3, Pick 71
- Round 4, Pick 115
- Round 5, Pick 146
- Round 5, Pick 165 (from Philadelphia)
- Round 7, Pick 227
- Round 7, Pick 257
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New Orleans Saints Mock Draft 2023
Round 1 (No. 29 overall from DEN via MIA and SF)
Pick: Mazi Smith, DL MICH
The Saints’ first-round pick is going to be of utmost importance this season. They added Khalen Saunders as a defensive tackle a month ago but could still need some help along the interior of the defensive line.
In this Saints 7-round NFL mock draft, they’ll have lots of chances to add to their offense, so adding the 6-foot-3 Smith, who has pass rush ability and the ability to post tackles for loss, would make sense. The Saints might look at someone like Hendon Hooker or someone to catch the ball, but Smith is expected to be drafted higher and he’d make sense if he were to fall.
Round 2 (No. 40 overall)
Pick: Brian Branch, S Alabama
The Saints signed cornerback Nathan Shepherd to help in the backfield but could still use some help at the safety position. Branch was an absolute beast the past two seasons in Alabama and has been coached by the best. You wish he was 6-foot-4 instead of 6-foot, but he can get you a wicked tackle or interception on just about any play. Branch’s stock seems to be sliding a bit, and if he makes it all the way to No. 40, this would be a pretty easy pick as he’s widely considered the best safety in the class.
Round 3 (No. 71 overall)
Pick: Marvin Mims, WR Oklahoma
It would have been nice to see Mims play at the Senior Bowl, but he was obviously ineligible as a Junior. We say that because the challenge with Mims is you’d like to see him outside of the Oklahoma system to see just how explosive he is.
Regardless, he averaged a whopping 20.1 yards per catch and found the end zone 21 times in his career. He could also offer some special teams ability as a punt returner. The Saints got lucky last year with Chris Olave in the 2022 NFL Draft and could find a nice long-term counterpart to him with Mims in our seven-round exercise. Coach Dennis Allen said Michael Thomas still isn’t all the way healed, so some insurance could be in the works.
Round 4 (No. 115 overall)
Pick: Blake Freeland, OT BYU
Carr isn’t the most mobile quarterback in the world, so adding some beef to the offensive line could be a solid move for the Saints. Freeland ranked 1st at the NFL Scouting Combine among OTs with a whopping 87 athleticism score, according to ESPN’s Next Gen Stats. Athletes like this tend to be successful, and while he may not be ready to start right away, there’s a lot to like here with Freeland.
Round 5 (No. 146 overall)
Pick: Zach Evans, RB Ole Miss
Alvin Kamara is likely going to be suspended for part of the season. While the Saints added Jamaal Williams of the Lions, they could still use more help at the position as the latest New Orleans Saints depth chart shows just Dwayne Washington and Eno Benjamin on the roster. Kamara and Williams are simply not long-term answers and successful SEC runners have a long track record of success in the NFL.
Round 5 (No. 165 overall from PHI)
Pick: Luke Schoonmaker, TE MICH
The Saints could look at Old Dominion Tight End Zack Kuntz, but he’d likely be gone by the fifth round. If they wait this long to grab a tight end, Schoonmaker would make for a pretty solid choice. Much like Freeland, Schoonmaker just killed the combine, and while his production has left a little to be desired, it honestly looks like Jim Harbaugh underutilized him in Ann Arbor.
Round 7 (No. 227 overall)
Pick: Ali Gaye, EDGE LSU
Finding someone who can sack the QB consistently with a seventh-round draft pick is tough. Still, Gaye would make for a nice value pick if he fell this far. Gaye is still very raw as a prospect after moving to the states from Africa just two years ago. Players who are solid athletes with big upsides are perfect for dart throws in the final round, so this would make some sense.
Round 7 (No. 257 overall)
Pick: Ronnie Bell, WR MICH
The question with Bell is going to be just how far he makes it back from his torn ACL in 2021. He simply didn’t look like the same player last year, but we also know it takes up to two years to be fully healed from that injury. If the 2021 Bell shows up in New Orleans, he’d make for a great depth piece at receiver.
2023 New Orleans Saints Mock Draft, New Orleans Saints Draft Needs FAQ
When is the NFL Draft?
April 27th-April 29th
What are the biggest Saints draft needs?
Conventional wisdom says the Saints need defensive ends, safeties, wide receivers, running backs, and defensive linemen the most.
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