Initial reports during the 2020 regular season were that the New Orleans Saints were going to forfeit a 7th round pick in the 2021 draft because of violations of league policies for COVID-19 protection.
Two NFL teams, the Saints and Raiders, were said to have lost draft choices because of COVID-19 protocols. The Saints penalty was due to a mask-less locker room celebration after a victory. The Raiders were penalized for multiple violations. Both franchises were fined. New Orleans and Las Vegas both appealed the league's decision.
This morning, in a story broke by Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk, neither the Saints nor Raiders will lose a draft choice after all. NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy confirmed in Smith's PFT article that both New Orleans and Las Vegas will not give up a draft choice, perhaps as part of the appeal process from each team.
After compensatory picks were awarded and the official draft order was set, the Saints now have the following selections in the 2021 draft:
1st Round - 28th overall selection
2nd Round - 60th overall
3rd Round - 98th overall (compensatory)
3rd Round - 105th overall (compensatory)
4th Round - 133rd overall
6th Round - 218th overall (compensatory)
7th Round - 229th overall (via Jaguars)
7th Round - 255th overall
The 2021 NFL draft will begin on Thursday, April 29 with the first round of selections. Rounds 2 and 3 will be on Friday, April 30. The draft will conclude with rounds 4, 5, 6, and 7 on Saturday May 1.
UPDATE: NFL offices have confirmed that although the Saints will not lose a 2021 draft choice because of violations, they will be penalized in 2022. New Orleans will forfeit a 6th round selection in the 2022 draft and be fined $700,000 dollars for violations of the league's COVID-19 safety policies during the 2020 season.
Stay tuned to the Saints News Network for all breaking news on the New Orleans Saints.