By the end of the day, we'll finally get to see how the Saints attack the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Everything that has happened since the close of last season comes to fruition, and we'll at least know of one player who New Orleans gains to help their team hopefully stay a contender in the new season. There's been a lot of discussion as to what the team should grab with their first pick, so we make some closing arguments for each position's sake.
The hole is there for the Saints left behind from the departure of Janoris Jenkins, and we also have no idea if Marshon Lattimore will face any league discipline for his off-the-field arrest. Patrick Robinson doesn't seem like he'll take full-time snaps there, and Sean Payton has also talked about the position being a top need that needs to be addressed. Sure, they could go after an available veteran if they don't draft one. However, there are tons of top prospects there. Get your cornerback to help continued success in the secondary.
Demario Davis can't do it alone, and if the answer is already on the roster, then it's an unproven one. Just think back to how bad the Saints were getting beat by the Bucs in the short and intermediate areas in the playoff game. Alex Anzalone just couldn't do it, and it makes you wonder what could have been if Kwon Alexander was there. Most all of the aforementioned linebackers will help this team, and it's hard to bank on a completely healthy Alexander to return to the Saints to be Davis' partner in crime. The way the team plays defense, you need a solid guy to run with Davis, and you can get him in the first round.
Who steps up in place of Emmanuel Sanders? That's the million dollar question for the Saints. There's a lot of thoughts and belief that Tre'Quan Smith could do more, Marquez Callaway could evolve and breakout, and that Deonte Harris may be utilized more. Michael Thomas will go on a tear in 2021, but that second option is up for grabs. It doesn't matter if it'll be Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill, an offensive weapon will always be welcomed by Sean Payton. The draft is plentiful with good receivers who might be floating around at 28th, and it's an exciting thought to see how the New Orleans offense will look with one of them in the mix.
Potential Targets: Christian Barmore, DT (Alabama), Levi Onwuzurike, DT (Washington)
Defensive tackle isn't strong this year for the draft class, and if you're going to look at taking one early, then there's only one player you would consider there. It's not a sexy pick, but would make sense. Essentially, the Saints are rolling into the new season with David Onyemata and then looking to figure out who emerges between Shy Tuttle and Malcom Roach. Of course, the reality is that they'll probably rotate a good bit, but the run-stopping presence that was Malcom Brown is out of the picture.