Diving deeper into the Saints’ 2021 NFL Draft class

New Orleans Saints (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
New Orleans Saints (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Christian Barmore #58 of the Alabama Crimson Tide  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Christian Barmore #58 of the Alabama Crimson Tide  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

What I Would Have Done As Saints GM

With the organization needing as much of an injection of young talent as possible, I would have been aggressively been trying to move down in the draft to accumulate more capital, but for the sake of this scenario, the only change I’ll make is keeping the original picks, rather than moving up:

  • Round 1, Pick 28: IDL Christian Barmore, Alabama (Actually Selected: 38th- NE)
  • Round 2, Pick 60: CB Paulson Adebo, Stanford (Actually Selected: 76th- NO)
  • Round 3, Pick 99: LB Jabril Cox, LSU (Actually Selected: 115th- DAL)
  • Round 3, Pick 105: WR Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State (Actually Selected: 131st- BAL)
  • Round 4, Pick 133: IOL Drew Dalman, Stanford (Actually Selected: 140th- ATL)
  • Round 6, Pick 218: CB Thomas Graham Jr., Oregon (Actually Selected: 228th- CHI)
  • Round 7, Pick 229: EDGE Patrick Johnson, Tulane (Actually Selected: 234th- PHI)
  • Round 7, Pick 255: WR Tammorion Terry, Florida State (Actually Selected: UDFA- SEA)

As I mentioned earlier, picking Barmore and Turner still adds a nice presence to the team’s pass rush, but does so on the interior, where there is a better path to playing time, but most importantly, would have given the team a superior prospect by all accounts, and a far less risky one.

Meanwhile, had they selected Adebo with their second-round pick, they wouldn’t have been obliged to move up for him in the third round, and this patience would have rewarded them with an absolute steal with Jabril Cox, someone Saints fans surely wanted them to draft out of LSU. Capping off the day with an analytical darling in Tylan Wallace, who has big-play ability, multiple elite seasons at Oklahoma State, and a profile as an outside receiver would be quite the haul.

Then, rather than a backup quarterback, fringe offensive linemen, and small-school receiver, the Saints could have come away with a versatile interior offensive lineman as potential insurance for Andrus Peat or Cesar Ruiz moving forward, an undervalued cornerback in Thomas Graham Jr., in addition to receiver Tammorion Terry, who is an underclassman that has interesting peripheral numbers but was overlooked due to poor quarterback play at Florida State. As for Patrick Johnson, some had him ranked in the same range as Turner, so the discrepancy between the two doesn’t make much sense.

More valuable positions, no trading up, fewer risks on players without strong production- this is generally what each team’s draft strategy should be, especially one who was under great pressure to hit on their picks. Perhaps these prospects don’t pan out, but based on the overall process, this would have appeared to be a more optimal allocation of resources.


The Saints came into the draft needing to hit on as many picks as possible to combat the fact that their roster is aging, has less depth, and they don’t have any financial flexibility.

Rather than recognize this, the front office continued to take risks on athletic developmental projects, and that’s quite concerning. Sure, enough of these prospects can hit the right side of variance, but if they don’t, they could be in a lot of trouble.

Even then, is a rotational edge rusher, starting mike linebacker, No. 2 cornerback, and backup quarterback changing the direction of a franchise? Outside of Adebo, each of their selections doesn’t have sufficient payoff to offset the risk in selecting them, and all appear to be pretty notable reaches. Hopefully, I am proven wrong, yet I am skeptical of the front office’s thought process.

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Consider this the icing of the cake on a strange offseason. We have been accustomed to a lot of recent success with this franchise, but, unfortunately, with the way things are shaping up, fans may need to embrace a tougher transition period in the post-Drew Brees era than they were hoping for.