How will the Saints use their picks in the 2017 NFL draft? We’re breaking down every selection below.
The New Orleans Saints have finished 7–9 in each of the last three seasons, despite having one of the league's top offenses. The problem with the Saints is in those seasons they finished 31st, 31st and 27th in total defense.
Here's the full list of picks the Saints hold in the 2017 draft, which will be updated as each selection is made.
Round 1, Pick 11 (No. 11 overall)
Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State: Teams chasing defensive players have to be giddy at the offense-heavy top 10. Without having to move up the board at all, the Saints managed to land the top prospect at a position of extreme need. Lattimore could have landed in the top five (as many predicted he would, with Tennessee) and no one would have batted an eye. He’s a physical cornerback who can live on an island but who also will step up and help against the run. The Saints try to fix their secondary seemingly every season. This might finally get them there. GRADE: A
Round 1, Pick 32 (No. 32) (From New England)
Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin: An interesting conclusion to a wild night. This is the pick that the Saints acquired for trading Brandin Cooks to New England, but there weren’t many (any?) folks predicting they’d use it on a tackle. That’s not to say it is a nonsensical selection. Andrus Peat, the Saints’ 2015 first-rounder, has settled in at guard, and veteran Zach Strief turns 34 in September. So, the Saints got a jump on any potential future headaches by bringing in Ramczyk. The knock: It probably does not make New Orleans any better in 2017 unless Strief is headed out the door early. The defense could have used another body here. GRADE: B
Round 2, Pick 10 (No. 42)
Marcus Williams, S, Utah: This is a minor upset. The Saints used one of their two first-rounders on their secondary (CB Marshon Lattimore), and they have both Jairus Byrd and Vonn Bell at safety. Williams is an excellent ballhawking, center-fielder type safety—the Round 2 version of Malik Hooker—but this is another team that seemed primed to address other needs. GRADE: B
Round 3, Pick 3 (No. 67)
Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee: This makes sense if one believes that Christian McCaffrey was a candidate for the Saints in Round 1—Kamara’s a three-down back who’s dangerous in the open field. But New Orleans coughed up a 2018 second-rounder (and 2017 seventh) to get him, already has Mark Ingram, and still needs a pass rusher. The value for Kamara here is good. The fit? Eh. GRADE: C
Round 3, Pick 12 (No. 76)
Alex Anzalone, LB, Florida: Anzalone is an ultra-athletic linebacker who just could not stay healthy at Florida. If he does, he easily could be the best playmaker in the Saints’ linebacking corps—and that’s as of 2017, not beyond. It’s a risk, but also addresses a need for New Orleans as it tries hard to fix its defense. GRADE: B
Round 3, Pick 39 (No. 103) (Compensatory pick from New England through Cleveland)
Trey Hendrickson, DE, Florida Atlantic University: The Saints entered the draft needing a DE to line up opposite Cameron Jordan, and they might have found an under-the-radar answer in Hendrickson. He’s not a clear-cut, overnight starter in the NFL—a lot of what he does comes from pure effort, as opposed to elite skills—but he’s at least a rotational defender. GRADE: B+
Round 6, Pick 12 (No. 196) Al-Quadin Muhammad, LB, Miami