The Saints are going to pick a linebacker within the first couple rounds of this upcoming NFL Draft — or at least they should. They missed out on drafting Patrick Queen from LSU last year when they decided on Cesar Ruiz instead.
After trading for Kwon Alexander, I thought that Sean Payton had pulled off the perfect move to address the linebacking corps. However, circumstances like the Achilles tear and the lowered cap space led to the team parting ways with him.
Demario Davis and 2020 rookie Zack Baun are the only two viable linebackers on the roster. Obviously, they aren’t too impressed with Baun’s progression as he didn’t step up as a rookie, but he should see an uptick in snaps this season.
The New Orleans Saints need to avoid the mistake they made in 2020 and target a linebacker in the first or second round this year.
Most mock drafts have the black and gold drafting Zaven Collins from Tulsa, Joseph Ossai from Texas, or Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah from Notre Dame. Those are all first-round selections and two of the three would have to fall past other projections.
If the team went another way in the first round, they could attack the position in the second round with University of Kentucky junior linebacker Jamin Davis. Davis has been in Kentucky for three years before entering the Draft in 2021.
Davis’s first two seasons were mediocre at best before he was given his chance to shine. He played in 15 games in those seasons and totaled 42 tackles, 1.0 sacks, two interceptions, and 1.0 tackles for a loss.
In his breakout year 2020, Davis had 102 tackles, over doubling his first two year’s production. He also added 1.5 sacks, one touchdown, three interceptions, and 4.0 tackles for a loss. Almost all of those are career-highs in college.
Davis would add depth to the position with the opportunity to quickly grow into a starting role. Most mock drafts have him going late second round, but some have him going as high as the late first-round or early second round.