Saints make surprising pick in Mel Kiper’s first 2022 mock draft

Leigh Oleszczak
New Orleans Saints Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Saints Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /
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The New Orleans Saints have a few different directions they could go in when it comes to the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Mel Kiper Jr. has them making a bit of a surprising pick in his first mock draft of the offseason, landing Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett at No. 18 overall.

Kiper’s mock draft requires a subscription but essentially he thinks Pickett would be the perfect addition to the Saints’ offense. They need a quarterback and Pickett just threw for 4,319 yards and  42 touchdowns with the Panthers in 2021 so of course, the fit would be a good one.

The reason this is a surprising pick is that Pickett is widely considered to be the best quarterback in this draft class. The quarterback class as a whole isn’t the most impressive and that’s why I find it hard to believe that Pickett would slide to the middle of the first round.

Plenty of quarterback-needy teams are picking ahead of the Saints and that’s why it’ll be shocking if he drops to pick No. 18. Maybe the Saints trade up and get the Pittsburgh product but I don’t see the guy sliding to them that late in the first round.

Saints land Kenny Pickett in Mel Kiper’s mock draft

New Orleans started four different quarterbacks in the 2021 season and two of them are hitting free agency. One of those guys is Jameis Winston, who fans seem to think is a lock to return but I wouldn’t be so sure about that. He’s arguably the best free-agent quarterback on the market and that’s going to make it tricky to retain him even with the injury he sustained this past season.

With Taysom Hill potentially not being healthy enough to play at all in 2022, the Saints have to address the quarterback position and if Pickett is available when they’re on the clock, he’d be hard to pass on. The Heisman Trophy finalist would be a dream come true for New Orleans so this is something fans would probably love to see happen.

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With that said, however, quarterbacks are in high demand and with a draft class this weak, Pickett should be long gone by the time the Saints are on the board.

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