Free agency remains ongoing across the league, but most of the big attention has shifted to the NFL Draft. As we enter the month of April on Thursday, we'll be just shy of four weeks away from the opening night of festivities. Pro Days are happening across the states, and there's been some particular intrigue and buzz from one of the recent ones held for Alabama. Both Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton were in attendance for the second session the Crimson Tide held on Tuesday.
Payton was at TCU's Pro Day on March 19, while Jeff Ireland was at South Carolina's Pro Day on March 24. Naturally, there's a lot of talent out there that the Saints look to grab, but we take a quick look at some of the prospects from Alabama that could be on the team's radar in the first round.
Mac Jones, QB
Overview: 6'3", 214 pounds, 22 years old (9/5/98)
It doesn't seem very likely that New Orleans will draft a cornerback in the early rounds, but of course you can never rule it out. Jones had an incredible season with the Crimson Tide last year, throwing for 4,500 yards and having a 41:4 touchdown-interception ratio en route to another Alabama National Championship. Of course, the intrigue for someone like him is there.
Patrick Surtain II, CB
Overview: 6'2", 202 pounds, 20 years old (4/14/00)
As of right now, the Saints need another cornerback, and Surtain is easily one of the top corners in the draft. He's most likely going to be a Top 10-15 pick, so if New Orleans wants to get someone like him, they'll have to be a bit aggressive and move up from 28th to even get close to him. He certainly has strong lineage, as his father was actually born in New Orleans and went to Edna Karr, being drafted in the second round of the 1998 draft to go on and play 11 seasons in the league.
DeVonta Smith, WR
Overview: 6'1", 175 pounds, 22 years old (11/14/98)
Teammate Jaylen Waddle will also draw a ton of intrigue, and like Surtain II, these two receivers will probably be Top 10 picks. Smith would be a bit more intriguing in the Saints offense, as he went on a tear last season that could not be ignored. He became the third Crimson Tide player to win a Heisman Trophy, joining Derrick Henry (2015) and Mark Ingram (2009). He's an exceptional route runner and has demonstrated an ability to show up in big games. If he somehow falls (highly unlikely), then he'd be an incredible compliment to Michael Thomas.
Najee Harris, RB
Overview: 6'2", 230 pounds, 23 years old (3/9/98)
Harris is going to become some team's workhouse, and while it probably won't be the Saints due to that Alvin Kamara fellow, he projects in the back half pick range of the first round to early second round. He's a physical runner and can be an every down back in the league. What's going to be interesting is if he gets drafted over Clemson's Travis Etienne.
Other Considerations (Middle Rounds)
- Christian Barmore, DL - Not having Malcom Brown leaves a void for a run-stopper on the defensive line. Barmore could be a late first-rounder, but most likely sees his name called on Day 2. Expect a big leap from David Onyemata for the Saints, as well as some more contributions from Shy Tuttle and Malcolm Roach.
- Landon Dickerson, OL - An unfortunate ACL tear in the SEC Championship might drop his stock some, but he seems to be rehabbing just fine. He's a center/guard prospect. The only real way of seeing him being considered by New Orleans would be if he's coming in to compete or replace Andrus Peat. They have other pressing needs to address early.
- Alex Leatherwood, OL - He was one of the best, if not best left tackles in college football. He's definitely a 'mass and ass' type of player, and if you don't understand that reference, see Sean Payton. New Orleans is pretty set at the tackle position with Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk, especially after securing some insurance in the way of James Hurst.
- Dylan Moses, LB - New Orleans has a huge opening and need without Kwon Alexander and Alex Anzalone in the mix. He's reportedly heard a good bit from the team in the pre-draft process. Someone has to pair alongside Demario Davis.