Individual player draft visits can reveal a lot about teams. Those that are scheduled, and those that aren’t.
The 2018 NFL Draft starts tonight and mock drafts are finalizing quickly. A lot of mocks coming from publications factor in team’s needs, obviously. They consider how teams performed on the field, both statistically and the “eye test,” then decide what the most glaring issue was during that season. On top of that, offseason departures, additions and any other happenings are factored in.
However, what may go overlooked is actual physical meetings between teams and prospects. The scouting departments, front offices and coaching staffs base their decisions on draft night heavily on personal meetings with prospects. Players’ every words are picked apart by organizations, making sure the players they are considering adding to their team are correct fits.
What does that mean for the New Orleans Saints this draft season? This is the easiest way to over-analyze how front offices think, but enough goes on for anything to happen as a result.
New Orleans is going after…
Here are the notable amount of visits, by position, for the Saints this 2018 draft season: Eleven edge/DE/OLB, ten wide receivers, four tight ends and four quarterbacks. Of those eleven edge players, Tremaine Edmunds is the highest ranked. He may go in the top-10, but New Orleans still couldn’t resist working him out at his VT pro day. Also, Arden Key of LSU, Da’Shawn Hand of Alabama, and Josh Sweat of Florida State all met with the Saints’ scouting department at some point.
For the quarterbacks, Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson are top prospects that have met with the Saints. Head coach Sean Payton has even spoken with Mayfield in person. Like Falk of Washington State is also on that list. I’m pleaded with the amount of wide receivers on the board, as the Saints would really benefit from a talented catcher opposite Michael Thomas. Courtland Sutton (SMU), D.J. Chark (another LSU stud), and Anthony Miller (rising fan-favorite from Memphis) highlights the pass catchers who the Saints have shown major interest in.
The bottom line: don’t be surprised if New Orleans goes WR at 27. Either that, or they will trade down at some point to select a “sleeper” receiver in the second or third round. The lack of interior linemen being targeted worries me a bit, but the Saints didn’t meet with any tackle prospects last year. They ended up drafting Ryan Ramczyk in the first round.
Will Mickey Loomis throw us a curveball, or keep it safe to ensure the Saints take the next step to being Super Bowl contenders? Tonight holds a lot of unanswered questions.