New Orleans Saints: Analyzing the 2021 NFL Draft by position
Long-Term Need at The Position: Medium
Demario Davis is 32-years-old and the Saints don’t have a lot of linebacker depth behind him, but if they’re going to field a strong defense, it starts from their secondary, not at a position that isn’t highly paid or moving the needle generally. That’s simply the nature of the NFL currently.
- Micah Parsons, Penn State (Rank: 16)
- Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame (Rank: 24)
Both of these players are versatile coverage players with a lot of athleticism. I don’t think Parsons comes close to being available, but you never know.
Owusu-Koramoah, on the other hand, is the more likely potential option as more of a coverage weapon capable of defending the slot and playing dime safety, and if they simply used him as a safety, he’d be an interesting pick. Thus, I wouldn’t be opposed necessarily to drafting him.
- Jabril Cox, LSU (Rank: 56)
- Pete Werner, Ohio State (Rank; (7)
- Garret Wallow, TCU (Rank: 108)
- Monty Rice, Georgia (Rank; 115)
- Nick Niemann, Iowa (Rank: 191)
I’m sure Saints fan would love to see the team select Cox and begin an LSU pipeline, and he’d fit well as a traditional coverage linebacker to complement Davis.
Really, however, the best value would come on the third day of the draft, with Wallow, Rice, and Niemann the best prospects to add depth.
- Jamin Davis, Kentucky (Rank: 45)
- Nick Bolton, Missouri (Rank: 94)
- Chazz Surratt, North Carolina (Rank: 161)
- Dylan Moses, Alabama (Rank: 197)
- Cameron McGrone, Michigan (Rank: 248)
Davis and Bolton have been linked to the Saints in the first round, though the two are opposites; Davis is your typical lengthy, athletic projection, whereas Bolton will have to rely on instincts.
However, at linebacker, if I’m selecting you in the first round, shouldn’t you be much more of a complete product to warrant an early selection?
Meanwhile, Surratt, Moses, and McGrone were very poor in pass coverage in college, and don’t offer the defensive versatility required of the linebacker position to be drafted on day two, which they could end up finding themselves.
The Saints are far too pressed from a financial perspective to be investing a first-round pick at the linebacker position, unless Owusu-Koramoah is available; he could simply be a safety for them. Zaven Collins out of Tulsa is another typically linked player to them based on his size (270 pounds) and pass-rush abilities, but in general, this is another spot that they should essentially cross out until the final stages of the draft.