At some point, New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis, head coach Sean Payton and head coach Sean Payton will be gone. I get the feeling once Brees calls it quits, that will be the end of the team’s holy trinity.
The New Orleans Saints returned to the playoff last season with a renewed swagger and a defense that played better than it had in years. Youth and speed became the focal point and a commitment to the other side of the ball became a necessity.
While the team had one of the better offenses in the NFL again last season, it was a change in philosophy that lead to a winning season. Once again, defense mattered in the Big Easy.
Here is a look at my predictions for the New Orleans Saints in the 2018 NFL Draft.
FIRST ROUND, PICK #27 – MIKE GESICKI, TIGHT END PENN STATE
I have a hard time thinking the New Orleans Saints will do anything but grad a tight end here. A quarterback could be a possibility, but I am also not sold any of the six signal callers expected to be chosen in the first round will be available. Gesicki can catch like a wide receiver and fits the Saints offensive game plan.
THIRD ROUND, PICK #91 – JUSTIN LAWLER, DEFENSIVE END, SMU
The Saints defense could always use another pass rusher. Per NFLmocks.com, Lawler is a frequent visitor to the backfield. He compiled 40.5 tackles for loss across his four-year career at SMU. He also racked up 20.5 sacks. The ex-Mustang is one heck of a run-stopper. He closes gaps very quickly, often forcing the ball carrier backward to scan for other running lanes. I love his speed and agility. He will excel on a fast carpet in the Superdome.
FOURTH ROUND, PICK #127 – KYLE LAULETTA, QUARTERBACK, RICHMOND
The heir apparent to Drew Brees. Lauletta is the next in line of solid quarterback prospects. He has nice size at 6-foot-4 and 226 pounds. The idea of him learning for a year or two under Brees and Sea Payton makes this pick a steal, in my opinion. He does not have the arms strength other prospects have, but his accurate and throws a nice ball. His grooming will pay off for the New Orleans Saints when Brees hands up his cleats.
FIFTH ROUND, PICK #147 – DEON CAIN, WIDE RECEIVER, CLEMSON
Another wide receiver for the Saints. Cain is a surprise to have lasted this long. He will be added to the rotation and could also be used on punt returns. Per canalstreetchronicles.com, Cain Cain has one of the better size/speed combinations of any receiver in the draft. He is a naturally fluid athlete, with instant acceleration and good deep speed. At 6-foot-2 he can also outjump defensive backs on 50-50 balls.
FIFTH ROUND, PICK #164 – DAMON WEBB, SAFETY, OHIO STATE
Another one of those Ohio State defensive backs. Good size at 5-foot-11 and 209 pounds. His small hands might be a concern. Webb was the only returning starter in the Ohio State secondary in 2017, with his three teammates all being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft last April. Despite being a late-round selection, he could excel in the New Orleans Saints safety rotation.
SIXTH ROUND, PICK #189 – SAM JONES, GUARD, ARIZONA STATE
He is 6-foot-5 and 305 pounds and could add bulk to his frame. He is a lean and quick guard, and may get overrun by opposing inside defensive linemen. He has good footwork, which is essential in the New Orleans passing game. He could he an asset in the rushing attack as he can head off backside cutoffs. He may take a season or two to realize his full potential.
SIXTH ROUND, PICK #201 – SKYLER PHILLIPS, OFFENSIVE LINEMAN, IDAHO STATE
After watching tape of him, I think he is a steal. A solid blocker who can slide from side to side in pass blocking. The best thing I saw about him is defenders falling down off the snap due to his strength and size. While he is built well, his main strength comes from his upper body.
SEVENTH ROUND, PICK #245 – KENNY YOUNG, LINEBACKER, UCLA
He could be a very solid special teams player who could work his way into the rotation as the year progresses. Young has nice size at 6-foot-1 and 226 pounds. He could be play safety in the New Orleans Saints system.