3. Isaiah Likely
Coastal Carolina’s Isaiah Likely has chalked up to be one of the most intriguing tight end prospects in 2022. But this year’s draft class is critically lacking of elite tight ends, which means the Saints may get a player whose worth has been artificially inflated.
Along with fellow tight end Jelani Woods, Likely’s stock has increased since his Senior Bowl appearance, and he’s now being included in TE1 conversations. Likely currently projects to be a Day 2 pick, so at least the Saints wouldn’t have to use one of their first-rounders on him.
But NOLA extended Adam Trautman and still has Juwan Johnson on the tight end depth chart, so taking even a promising young player like Likely may not prove a wise choice — the Saints are better off taking a tight end on Day 3, or maybe not at all.
At 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, Likely has the athletic frame and is a natural hands-catcher who “can turn up the field to be a good run after the catch option for offenses.” His big-play ability may overshadows that of other tight ends in this draft class, but again, the competition is not super stiff.
The Saints’ new-look offense will need reliable pass-catchers to support Jameis Winston, and we’re just not sure Likely can fit well in their scheme.
As much as this hurts to say, Adam Trautman should be TE1 in 2022, and New Orleans can afford to wait another year or so to find his heir, preferably during a year with more impressive tight end recruits.