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New Orleans Saints: Analyzing the 2021 NFL Draft by position

MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 05: Caleb Farley #3 of the Virginia Tech Hokies celebrates with teammates against the Miami Hurricanes during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on October 05, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 05: Caleb Farley #3 of the Virginia Tech Hokies celebrates with teammates against the Miami Hurricanes during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on October 05, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Running Back

Long Term Need at Position: Low

Surprisingly, the Saints elected to keep Latavius Murray rather than save extra cap space. Add in Alvin Kamara and Ty Montgomery, and they now have three running backs, with a $15 million per year investment in Kamara.

That’s already too much invested in a rather replaceable position as is.

First-Round Value: None

The Saints apparently were enamored with Jonathan Taylor in the 2020 draft, so there is a world where they select a running back in the first round. Would it be optimal, though? There really isn’t a time when it is.

Running backs in the first round immediately become amongst the highest-paid at their positions and play a non-valuable position, and for the Saints, that’s even more of an issue with their investment in Kamara.

Other Options

  • Javonte Williams, North Carolina (Rank: 35)
  • Michael Carter, North Carolina (Rank: 88)
  • Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis (Rank: 89)
  • Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana (Rank: 104)
  • Pooka Williams, Kansas (Rank: 116)
  • Khalil Herbert, Virginia Tech (Rank: 27)
  • Trey Ragas, Louisiana (Rank: 211)

Javonte Williams would definitely be the most expensive of the bunch, but he also would at least provide value with their second-round pick; his projection is absurd due to the amount of broken tackles they had.

From there, Carter, Gainwell, and Williams are more of your shifty receiving backs, while Herbert brings more power.

As for the Louisiana running backs, Mitchell’s impressive Pro Day could catch the eye of the Saints’ front office, while the 230-pound Ragas would be your prototypical goal-line running back, which is more than fine for an undrafted free agent.

Buyer Beware

  • A first-round running back

See above.

Overview

Javonte Williams would be an excellent complement to Kamara, but if the Saints allocate their resources properly, they’ll be waiting till the end of the draft to consider drafting a running back. Particularly, Mitchell, Pooka Williams, and Ragas would be their top options from a value perspective, especially since they’d only be looking for a long-term complement for Kamara.

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