The 2020 NFL Draft was not a good one for the NOLA Saints, who spent their first-round pick on Cesar Ruiz. While Ruiz still has time to turn it around, the pick isn’t looking so hot right now. Who would they draft if they had a redo?
Here’s what Ballentine had to say about why he had Claypool landing in the Big Easy:
"With Jameis Winston at the helm, Claypool would have a quarterback who is willing to throw it up to him. Winston isn’t necessarily better than Big Ben, but he does play more aggressively.Pairing Claypool with a potentially healthy Michael Thomas would give the Saints a much better receiving corps than they had in 2021."
Claypool ended up falling into the middle of the second round and he made teams regret not spending a first-round pick on him, with the Saints being one of those teams.
NOLA Saints nab Chase Claypool in 2020 redraft
The selection of Ruiz was supposed to help upgrade the Saints’ interior offensive line and Ruiz has failed to live up to expectations. He really struggled in year two and it’s not farfetched to think that 2022 could be his last chance to show what he can do and why he was worthy of a first-round selection.
Claypool definitely would have been a better pick these first two years, though. The Notre Dame product racked up 62 receptions for 873 yards and a whopping nine touchdowns as a rookie in 2020, which is production the Saints certainly could have used considering that Michael Thomas missed over half the season that year.
In 2021, Claypool hauled in 59 catches for 860 yards but only found the end zone twice. The Saints still gladly would have taken the 860 yards, however, which would have led the team in receiving yards.
The 2020 draft in general wasn’t a good one for New Orleans, as their first three picks were Ruiz, Adam Trautman, and Zack Baun, none of whom have played well so far. Year three is huge for all three of these guys but Ruiz has the most to gain from a good season and the most to lose from a bad season.
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Would you have been happy with Chase Claypool as the Saints’ first-round pick in 2020?