With the number 28th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints select ________________.
Sorry, I am not prognosticating who the New Orleans Saints will select. No one has a clue. We can only read between the lines.
The decision on April 29, 2021 in the 2021 NFL Draft for the New Orleans Saints will be based on the why and how, instead of the who?
Young men have trained, sweated, painfully auditioned, answered numerous questions, poked by physicians, and their datasheets repeatedly pored by scouts and general managers. Mock draft mockers, podcast casters, broadcast broadcasters, and local fans will make their picks.
From April 29 to May 1 will transform the lives of young men and most professional football organizations. Based on a decision formulated months ago.
HOW AND WHY AT #28?
Who will the next pick be for New Orleans? The main question is how and why Mickey Loomis, Jeff Ireland, and Sean Payton will decide a player to help the franchise reach the pinnacle of football's greatest prize, a Super Bowl championship.
Number 28 is a versatile spot for the New Orleans Saints. Move up and expect to give draft capital in 2021 and beyond. Stay and possibly someone coveted slips down draft boards into your lap. Trade down and gain more draft capital to "re-tool" a financially limited organization.
The decision-makers - Loomis, Ireland, Payton - may have already decided how they will execute their plan. One thing is for sure, they have never been predictable. The philosophy of "best player available" on their board had been the only main predictor of the Saints.
We will never gain access to the New Orleans War Room before the draft. Thus, speculation and hyperbole will exist in the daily Mock Drafts, Draft Guides, and Draft Shows.
THE CORNERBACK SCENARIO
Based on the position and player's availability, draft capital, potential trade partner, and partner needs, can New Orleans move up the draft board?
For example, if the cornerback position is a definitive need. Especially with Marshon Lattimore's contract and pending legal issues. Will New Orleans address the position as a high priority and select a corner in the first round?
Quarterbacks, offensive tackles, cornerbacks, and edge rushers are considered high-value commodities in the league. A few cornerbacks possess the cover skills that can immediately fit New Orleans' defensive scheme. The three highly most likely players are cornerbacks Patrick Surtain, Jaycee Horn, and Greg Newsome. To draft a highly coveted talent, will the Saints sacrifice current 2021 selections and future high-draft picks?
Stay put. Not a bold move. Perhaps Florida State's Asante Samuel, Jr. may fall into your lap at No. 28. Are would the concerns around Caleb Farley have him sliding down draft boards to New Orleans?
Are the Saints willing to invest in "value picks" by trading out of the number 28 spot? Who are those potential trade partners, and does it make sense to lose a likely impact player or two by this maneuver? Or, could the tenacious UCF corner Aaron Robinson be the value pick for New Orleans?
Trading down depends on a few factors. Your desired player is gone. You need to re-tool and re-lay your foundation with a solid core of young players in later rounds? Number 28 is one of those prime spots where an aggressive team decides to jump back into the first round, give up a future first selection, and other valuable picks.
This could be an ideal scenario for the Saints. In 2022, they could have multiple first-round choices. Loomis will have an opportunity to restock the team with young players eager to make the team. New Orleans' 2006 draft class and their undrafted free agents prove you can build a foundation for a future Super Bowl winner.
Nevertheless, the team's strategy will always be in flux until hours before the draft. A call or two could also throw a wrench into a GM's plans. If New Orleans decides on a corner, offensive lineman, linebacker, or receiver, their current spot at 28 is good.
The current state of the team and future needs has me inclined to believe the Saints will make a move or two. Whether it's draft day or day two, don't expect Mickey Loomis to stay status quo. Expect a trade. Will it be a big one?
We shall see.