The New Orleans Saints’ 2018 draft class was considered one of the worst in the league a year ago, and heading into 2022, not much has changed.
Our theory is that the Saints got way too lucky with the 2017 draft class, so it was only fitting that NOLA selected a class full of busts the year after.
In 2018, New Orleans traded up in the first round to nab pass-rusher Marcus Davenport, and the rest of the draft only went downhill from there. At the time, Davenport seemed like he had the potential to develop into Cam Jordan’s heir, but the 14th overall pick has hardly lived up to his potential.
Bleacher Report’s Ian Wharton graded every NFL team’s 2018 draft haul and gave the Saints a D+ for their picks:
"Davenport has been the only impactful player of the Saints’ seven selections.While the upside with Davenport is still intriguing, he’s missed between three and six games in each season thus far… The Saints would likely want a re-do on this trade even if they like Davenport’s contributions when healthy."
Davenport recorded a career-best nine sacks in 2021, yet the young defensive end has yet to play a full season with the Saints and has been bitten by the injury bug nearly every year. This past offseason, Davenport dealt with a particularly gruesome injury, and though he seems to have recovered well so far, he simply can’t be relied upon as a consistent starter.
The New Orleans Saints have many regrets about the 2018 NFL Draft
Wharton also gave a slight nod to third-rounder Tre’Quan Smith and sixth-rounder Boston Scott.
Like Davenport, Smith has struggled with consistency issues in the past and is quickly running out of excuses. Last season, in the Saints’ underwhelming wide receiver room, Smith recorded just 32 catches for 377 yards in 11 games. In 2022, Smith has likely lost his starting spot to Browns’ Jarvis Landry and will serve as little more than a backup wideout in case of emergency.
Scott, on the other hand, has performed quite well…just not for the Saints. NOLA cut Scott before he ever took a regular season snap for the team, and Scott was shortly picked up by the Eagles. Scott hauled in 992 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns over the last four years and remains a potent threat in the backfield for Philly.
Had the Saints held onto Scott, it’s difficult to say whether Scott would have flourished in NOLA as much as he has in Philly, but the past is the past.
Looking ahead into the future, Marcus Davenport and Tre’Quan Smith have plenty to prove this season, and their career clocks are ticking.