The thirst for quarterbacks should help Saints draft
The Saints don’t need to pursue a quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft. And if there’s a run in the first round, it could work to the team’s benefit.
At long last, the wait is almost over. Mercifully for some, mock draft season is coming to an end and the real thing is upon us. Misinformation and smoke screens are flying rampant and the Saints draft team has hopefully finished up their board and battened down the hatches.
We will soon know which quarterback the Browns have chosen to lead them out of the pit of misery. At long last, the world will know if Giants general manager David Gettleman will take the heir apparent to Eli Manning or go for a blue-chip prospect like Saquon Barkley or Bradley Chubb.
Two types of NFL teams, and what it means for New Orleans
In 2018, NFL teams are divided into two categories: those with a franchise QB and those who will do anything to get one. The Saints mercifully still belong in the first category thanks to the longevity of Drew Brees. As of now, there are five quarterbacks with a really good shot of being drafted in the first round: Darnold, Rosen, Mayfield, Allen, and Jackson.
The pros and cons of each have been debated by others more qualified than myself ad nauseum. That total could rise to six if a team reaches for a guy like Mason Rudolph. I wouldn’t fall out of my chair in surprise if that happened.
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This creates an opportunity for scouting guru Jeff Ireland and the rest of the Saints draft war room. If five (or with extreme luck, six) of the 26 picks ahead of the Saints are quarterbacks, that means some high-caliber players will still be available.
Now, I’m not saying the Saints will get lucky with another Marshon Lattimore, but last year’s first round is actually a good example of what could happen. Because the Bears traded up to get Trubisky, and the Chiefs traded up for Mahomes, the Saints wound up running to the podium to select a player they thought would be gone.
There’s also the possibility of the Saints getting aggressive. They don’t have a lot of draft ammo, but if a player they covet starts to slip into the late teens, Payton and company aren’t shy about going to get their man.
Shouldn’t the Saints draft the heir to Brees?
Now, the shrewd Saints fan might argue the likely run on quarterbacks is actually bad. The reasoning being that Drew Brees is getting close to the end and the Saints need their succession plan in place.
Analysts have already said that next year’s quarterback prospects are underwhelming. To that, I would say this: while it’s important to look long-term, the reality of the new NFL is quarterbacks don’t wait in the wings anymore. If a GM uses a high first round pick on a signal-caller, they’re planning on starting him sooner rather than later. Look at what the Chiefs did with Alex Smith this offseason.
Next: Who Dat Dish: Final 7-round Saints mock draft
Personally, I still think Brees has two to three years of high-caliber football left. The Saints don’t have to go into panic mode for a quarterback yet. A steep price will need to be paid when it’s time to take a quarterback. Let’s wait until it’s absolutely necessary and when we have more draft ammo to move up than we do right now.
The winds of fate aren’t shaping up to deliver a top-tier prospect like Mayfield to the Saints this year. Rather than mortgaging the future in draft picks to force it to happen, the Saints draft room should take the gift likely to fall to them.