Who Dat Dish
Saints Draft

Grading New Orleans Saints drafts under Jeff Ireland

Najy Masri
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: Marcus Davenport of UTSA poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being picked #14 overall by the New Orleans Saints during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: Marcus Davenport of UTSA poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being picked #14 overall by the New Orleans Saints during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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3 of 3
New Orleans Saints
C.J. Gardner-Johnson, New Orleans Saints (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /

Day 3 / Fourth – Seventh Rounds

  • 2015: Davis Tull (1pt), Tyeler Davison (2pt), Damian Swann (1pt), Marcus Murphy (1pt)
  • 2016: David Onyemata (3pt), Daniel Lasco (1pt)
  • 2017: Al-Quadin Muhammed (2pt)
  • 2018: Rick Leonard (1pt), Natrell Jamerson (1pt), Kamrin Moore (1pt), Boston Scott (2pt), W Clapp (2pt)
  • 2019: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (3pt), Saquan Hampton (1pt), Alize Mack (1pt), Kaden Ellis (2pt)
  • 2020: Tommy Stevens (1pt)
  • 2021: Ian Book (TBD), Landon Young (TBD), Kawaan Baker (TBD)

Composite Score: 1.53

Analysis: Unfortunately, Day 3 of the NFL draft has not been kind to the Saints. Outside of the fourth-round selections of David Onyemata in 2016 and C.J. Gardner-Johnson in 2019, late-round draft picks in the last seven NFL drafts have largely been overshadowed by undrafted free agent signings.

The 2020 UDFA class alone brought current contributors such as Marquez Calloway, Malcolm Roach, Juwan Johnson, Calvin Throckmorton, Tony Jones Jr, and Blake Gillikin.

It’s also not a coincidence the Saints frequently happen upon later-round/UDFA gems. One element is the scouting, another is the culture that helps foster improvement.

The Saints won’t react to Sean Payton retiring by turning away from what built that culture in the first place.

NOLA targeted three running backs in the late rounds between 2015-2018, none of whom have garnered any success with the New Orleans franchise, although Boston Scott has found success as a rotational back with the Eagles.

Despite the Saints’ aversion to drafting LSU players, the Will Clapp selection in 2018 has provided the offensive line with valuable depth over the last couple of seasons. The Saints still remain high on the potential of last year’s sixth-round selection of Landon Young as he recovers from foot surgery.

Outside of the Gardner-Johnson selection in 2019, defensive back selections such as Damian Swann, Kamrin Moore, and Saquan Hampton did not pan out.

Related Story. 5 Bargains to Target in Free Agency. light

The lack of success in the later rounds combined with the tangible impact of undrafted free agent signings may explain the Saints’ willingness to move late-round picks to trade up in the draft (David Onyemata, Adam Trautman) or as a part of trades for established veterans (Kwon Alexander, Mark Ingram).

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