Team-by-Team Draft Review: New Orleans Saints

Jacob Feldman


Over the last decade, it is tough to find a team as consistently high flying on offense as the Saints have been – this is largely thanks to Drew Brees. Unfortunately for the Saints, Brees is aging and a lot of the key offensive weapons of the past few years are no longer in a Saints uniform. Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills are both gone via trades. Pierre Thomas and Lance Moore have also moved on.

The expectations were the Saints would be spending a lot of their draft trying to replace their depleted weapons on the offensive side of the board. They did re-sign Mark Ingram and bring in CJ Spiller via free agency, but that isn’t going to help Brees out in the passing game. The common expectation was the Saints using the first rounder they received from the Seahawks for Graham to become a wide receiver or maybe Maxx Williams.

That isn’t exactly how the Saints’ draft played out. In fact, of the nine draft picks the Saints had in 2015, only three of them were on the offensive side of the ball.

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Round 1, Pick 13 – Andrus Peat, OT

I really don’t have any experience evaluating how good an offensive lineman is, so I have no idea if Peat is going to turn into an all-pro for the next decade or just be an average starter for the next few years. What I do know is the Saints’ once great offensive line has seen most of its young talent leave via free agency in recent years. This has left behind a unit which is aging, less effective and often injured. An infusion of young talent is only going to help the offense, both on the ground and through the air. With all that said, I don’t know of any fantasy leagues which give points to offensive linemen, so let’s move on, even if there isn’t a whole lot to talk about.

Round 3, Pick 11 – Garrett Grayson, QB

This pick is intriguing for several reasons, but most of them revolve around the fact Brees is now 36 years old and entering the final year of his contract. Personally, I expect Brees to continue to be the quarterback of the Saints for the another 3-5 years until he retires, but there are some out there who are viewing Grayson’s selection as a sign the Saints are preparing to move on. I don’t think Grayson is going to be ready to take over for a few years. I think he’s largely viewed as a backup for the future hall of famer.

From a talent perspective, Grayson lacks a lot of the physical tools most NFL starters possess. He is undersized, lacks the ability to extend plays with his feet and is a little slow at times to move through his progressions. He is poised in the pocket though and shows some nice touch on a lot of his throws. If you get rid of the slow through his progressions piece he probably sounds an awful lot like the man he will be backing up. I don’t see the same kind of ceiling from him but with a few years behind Brees he could turn into a competent starter for the Saints or someone else. At the very least, he should turn into a serviceable backup.

Round 7, Pick 13 – Marcus Murphy, RB

The only other offensive pick of the Saints was Marcus Murphy out of Missouri. Truth be told, I didn’t have Murphy on any of my pre-draft lists. He’s a little undersized but could be a situational receiver out of the backfield in a pinch as well as a returner. I don’t think there is any fantasy consideration here given his position on the depth chart.

Defensive selections:

  • Round 1, Pick 31 – Stephone Anthony, ILB
  • Round 2, Pick 12 – Hau’oli Kikaha, OLB
  • Round 3, Pick 14 – PJ Williams, CB
  • Round 5, Pick 12 – Davis Tull, OLB
  • Round 5, Pick 18 – Tyeler Davison, DT
  • Round 5, Pick 31 – Damian Swann, CB

The offensive line isn’t the only part of the Saints team which has become old and broken. Their defense, most notably their linebacker corps really needed some work. The Saints clearly felt this way as well since they spent three of their six defensive picks on linebackers including picks in the first two rounds.

Anthony is a big, athletic inside linebacker who should be starting on day one. After all, you don’t spend a first round pick on a linebacker to have them standing on the sideline. He’s in the running for one of the first few picks in an IDP league, especially a tackle heavy league. Given the lack of pass rush the Saints currently have, Kikaha could carry some value as well in IDP leagues. He isn’t an elite talent, but it is hard to beat the situation given he’ll be in a pass rushing role for a Rob Ryan defense. The rest of the group is likely off the board even in deep IDP leagues.

It is unfortunate for fantasy fans, but the Saints didn’t provide too many fantasy options in this year’s draft. Maybe next year will be a big year for reloading the skill positions? Drew Brees fans can only hope!


jacob feldman