Saints News Network intern Sam Lucio previews the 2021 NFL Draft and talent pool for the New Orleans Saints.
Losing key players in free agency and as cap casualties, together with the retirement of franchise-cornerstone Drew Brees, has left the New Orleans Saints facing an uncertain future. Still, the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft presents the perfect opportunity for the Saints to reload and start life post-Brees on the right foot.
Over the past four seasons, New Orleans has been in a "Super Bowl or Bust" mindset. The aggressive nature of trying to lift the Lombardi trophy made this offseason salary-cap hell for New Orleans.
Despite this, GM Mickey Loomis said the team looks to "retool" rather than rebuild in 2021.
Retooling via the draft will be easier than in years past. New Orleans will enter the 2021 NFL Draft with a total of eight draft picks, the most they have had since the 2015 draft.
Some of the most considerable losses this offseason were at the wide receiver, cornerback, and linebacker positions with the release of Emmanuel Sanders, Janoris Jenkins, and Kwon Alexander, respectively. Ironically, these positions are the three deepest positions in the 2021 NFL Draft, which bodes well for the Saints as they look to fill those gaping roster holes.
Players like linebackers Jamin Davis (Kentucky) and Jabril Cox (LSU); cornerbacks Asante Samuel, Jr. (FSU), Jaycee Horn (South Carolina), and Greg Newsome (Northwestern); and wide receivers Rashod Bateman (Minnesota), Terrace Marshall, Jr. (LSU), and Elijah Moore (Ole Miss) could all be available when the Saints pick in either the first or second rounds. New Orleans should have multiple options depending on how the draft shakes out and which players end up where.
With the added benefit of having eight draft picks, the Saints could also trade up for a player they have fallen in love with and immediately impact the team.
The Saints have an opportunity to land young players in the 2021 NFL Draft that could potentially set the team for success - much like how the 2017 Saints draft class.
Mickey Loomis and Co. have drafted well in recent years. Expect New Orleans to target “their guy” this draft once again with hopes to continue their postseason trips without missing a beat.
*The article was written by Saints News Network's intern Sam Lucio.