Saints struck gold in 2017 first-rounders and can do it again

Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Saints have a good amount of draft capital after trading picks with the Eagles and should pray for a repeat of the 2017 draft.

The Saints are poised to own two first-round draft picks for the seventh time in franchise history, and the most recent time they had two picks that high was in 2017, also known as an absolutely legendary draft year for NOLA.

Assuming the team opts against packaging their first-rounders in a “two-for-one” deal, the Saints will hold picks No. 16 and No. 19 this April, and much ink has already been spilled over how the Saints will use them.

If it turns out anything like the 2017 draft, New Orleans just might enjoy a second renaissance.

In 2017, NOLA selected Marshon Lattimore with the 11th overall pick and Ryan Ramczyk with the 32nd overall pick, two players who have served at the core of this Saints squad for the last five years.

Don’t forget the rest of that draft class, either.

New Orleans Saints could find lasting first-round talent in 2022

That was 2017. In 2022, the Saints have fewer needs in the secondary and more needs in the offense, as many pundits predict the team will pull the trigger early on an offensive tackle and wide receiver.

Quarterback isn’t out of the question, but any decision will obviously depend on where the pieces fall into place on Day 1. If top talents like Kenny Pickett and Malik Willis get taken off the board, the Saints will have to answer a huge, impending question at the position: do they still go for their potential QB of the future, or do they wait a little longer?

As for the offensive line, the Saints could trade up to nab a starting-caliber five-star prospect like Alabama’s Evan Neal or Mississippi State’s Charles Cross, but they could also go after a project player like Minnesota’s Daniel Faalele. It’ll be difficult for any rookie, no matter how highly touted he is, to live up to Ramczyk’s standards, but the team may be able to find a viable heir nonetheless.

The Saints struck a gold mine in 2017, and with a little bit of luck, Dennis Allen and the other coaches may dig up a few lasting gems in this year’s draft class.

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They just have to know where to look.