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2021 NFL Mock Draft: Saints miss on QBs, take Zaven Collins

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /
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The New Orleans Saints may take a quarterback in the first round, but in Sporting News’ most-recent mock draft, they add an outside linebacker.

The New Orleans Saints haven’t drafted a quarterback since the 2015 NFL Draft when they took Garrett Grayson in the third round. Since then, they’ve upgraded their offensive line heavily, including using their first two picks on lineman in the last few drafts.

The Saints took Michigan’s Cesar Ruiz last season and Erik McCoy the draft before, helping shore up the line for Drew Brees‘ sake. Now, they have a solid line with no experience at the quarterback position.

As of now, it’s expected that 42-year-old future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees will retire. While that isn’t 100 percent confirmed, it’s what is expected. The Saints could go with Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill or they could add a quarterback in the first round.

But, that’s not who Sporting News has them taking with their first-round pick. Despite taking a linebacker in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, they, in their most recent draft, have them taking another outside linebacker.

Zaven Collins, a 6-foot-4 linebacker from Tulsa, is who they have the Saints taking in the first round.

"“The Saints need to get more versatility and speed for the second level to better support their strong defensive front. Dennis Allen should love this prospect’s skill set. Collins explodes as an athlete and can make a lot of plays with his agility, quickness and range,” Vinnie Iyer wrote."

Collins wouldn’t be a bad pick by any means, but the Saints went with Demario Davis and Kwon Alexander for most of the season after acquiring the former 49er. They then used Alex Anzalone after Alexander suffered a season-ending injury.

Zach Baun is the next man up, so drafting an outside linebacker doesn’t make too much sense. Drafting a wide receiver to help tag-team with receiver Michael Thomas or a safety to allow Marcus Williams to sign elsewhere makes sense.

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Collins may be an elite up-and-coming linebacker that is ready for the league, but he doesn’t make much sense. He’s explosive, and he should be a solid pro. But, it just doesn’t make much sense given Baun’s capabilities.

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