New Orleans Saints: 2020 draft class underwhelmed last season
The New Orleans Saints added just four players in the 2020 NFL Draft and none of them really hit. At the time of the draft, Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus gave the Saints a B grade for their draft, which seemed a bit too high to be perfectly honest.
After revisiting the draft now that these players have had a chance to take the field, Renner dropped their grade to a B-, which again, seems pretty high. Renner agreed that the grade was generous, saying so himself,
"Giving the Saints a B-minus might even be a little generous. While I liked Ruiz and Baun as prospects and still believe both will be good players (hence the B-minus), neither made any sort of impact in 2020 for a team that was all-in on last season. It was a bit of an odd draft for the Saints, who didn’t prioritize NFL-ready, impact-type players."
I mentioned above how the Saints had just four selections in the 2020 draft. They added interior offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz with their first-round pick, linebacker Zack Baun in the third round, tight end Adam Trautman in round three, and then didn’t have another selection until the seventh round where they took quarterback Tommy Stevens.
The New Orleans Saints’ 2020 draft class left a lot to be desired.
Looking at these picks, only Ruiz made a decent impact as a rookie, starting nine games at right guard for the Saints. He’ll be a starter in 2021 as well and could stay at right guard but also could find himself at center if the Saints decide to swap him and Erik McCoy.
Baun wasn’t effective as a rookie, only notching 12 tackles through 15 games and starting three. The hope is that he can make progress in year two but the Saints obviously didn’t feel super confident if they drafted Pete Werner in the second round.
Trautman only had 171 yards receiving as a rookie but had to split time with both Jared Cook and Josh Hill. Neither of those guys are in the Big Easy anymore, which should open things up for Trautman more this year.
The Stevens pick didn’t make a ton of sense, but to be fair, the seventh round isn’t usually dedicated to finding starters but rather depth pieces. The Saints knew Drew Brees would be calling it a career soon and Stevens could have been a decent backup option to have for whoever the future starter was.
Unfortunately, Stevens didn’t make the Saints’ final roster and ended up in Carolina. He even appeared in a game for the Panthers, rushing for 24 yards on four carries. Even if New Orleans had kept Stevens around, it’s doubtful he’d be fighting for the QB1 job right now.
This draft class still has time to salvage itself but it’s going to take a huge jump from Ruiz, Baun, and Trautman. If they can all be serviceable starters in 2021, perhaps this draft grade can move up from a B- by this time next year.