Round 1, Pick 27: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
The signing of Benjamin Watson still doesn’t solve the troubled tight end position for New Orleans. Coby Fleener’s tenure has been an expensive disappointment, so he’s likely going to be a post-June 1 cut. That gives the team Watson, who is 37, and Josh Hill, who has 12 catches last year and is 27.
Neither are poised or set up to be the Saints’ tight end of the future. Both of their deals expire before 2021, and neither produce enough consistently to be a top tight end for one of the league’s best offenses. Fortunately, this draft is chock full of talent, even at the right end position. Dallas Goedert isn’t the all-around best out of the bunch, but he is the best fit for this New Orleans’ Saints team by far.
Goedert is a three-level tight end with spectacular hands. He can catch passes in the flat, on out routes and crossing patterns, and go deep. Sean Payton will also have a fun time using Goedert the same way he did Jimmy Graham: lining up in the slot, on the line, and anywhere else to create a mismatch. Goedert May have played against lesser competition, but his size and speed will help him catch up to the competition.
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Most experts have Goedert ranked as the fourth best tight end prospect in this draft. He usually falls behind Hayden Hurst of Arkansas, Mike Gesicki of Penn State and Mark Andrews of Oklahoma. Statistically, Goedert blows all of them out of the water. He totaled 72 catches for 1,111 yards his senior year, with 92 catches for 1,293 yards the season before.
The tight end with the closest numbers to Goedert is Andrews. And it ain’t close. Andrews, in the top offense in the country, amassed 62 catches for 958 yards last season. His numbers the season before were about half of 2017’s. Now, Goedert is ranked lower due to his lack of blocking ability and separation instincts. Hurst and Andrews are better all-around tight ends on tape. Gesicki seems to be the most NFL-ready of the bunch.
However, it’s the athleticism, versatility, and red-zone capability from Goedert that should draw the Saints to him. Watson can block, and Hill can help on special teams/jumbo formations in the red zone. Goedert will cover the acrobatic catches, and exciting play to help New Orleans win.