NOLA Saints make the most of early-round picks in 7-round mock draft

New Orleans Saints (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
New Orleans Saints (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
3 of 4
New Orleans Saints
Sam Howell (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Sam Howell. 49. player. 838. . Quarterback. Tar Heels

Round 2: Pick 49 – Sam Howell, QB (North Carolina)

Many thought that the Saints’ aggressiveness in adding a second first-round selection might mean they’re planning to either package those picks for a quarterback or simply use one of those two picks on a signal-caller.

I didn’t go in that direction with this mock draft, opting instead to let Jameis Winston be the guy for the time being. In the second round, however, Sam Howell was still on the board and I went ahead and pulled the trigger, drafting him with the 49th overall pick.

Howell would not be ready to start until year two or even year three but the upside is there. He threw for 3,056 yards, 24 touchdowns, and nine interceptions during his 12 games in the 2021 season. Howell was a threat running with the football, adding 828 yards and 11 touchdowns with his legs.

Second-round quarterbacks are ones who shouldn’t be thrust into the starting role right away but with a few years to sit and learn behind Winston, he could end up being an option moving forward.

Nittany Lions . Rasheed Walker. 98. player. 806. . Offensive Tackle

Round 3: Pick 98 – Rasheed Walker, OT (Penn State)

The Saints need to find a left tackle to fill the void of Terron Armstead and while none fell to them in the first two rounds, Rasheed Walker could be a decent option for them moving forward. The problem with Walker is that he won’t be ready to start as a rookie, so James Hurst or a free-agent veteran would need to slide in at left tackle for the 2022 season.

The good news is that once Walker is deemed ready to rock and roll, he could be a solid option to have at one of the tackle spots. The Saints likely put him at left tackle due to having Ryan Ramczyk at right tackle already.

Maybe Walker doesn’t give NOLA an immediate starting option at left tackle but he’s a future option at the position for sure.