Saints address trenches in post-Aaron Rodgers trade Mock Draft by the common fan
Mock Draft season is here, and New Orleans Saints fans are pumped to be in the first round. In that spirit, let's see what common fans think the Saints will do.
There was a time when it didn't look like the New Orleans Saints wouldn't be in picking in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft at all, which was a real bummer considering their down 2022 season. Thanks to Sean Payton, ahem, "unretiring" to coach the Denver Broncos, the Saints now own the 29th overall selection in the first round. Saints fans, like fans of any team, have been diving deep into any and all mock drafts as a result, as is tradition this time of year.
Of course, there are a litany of mock drafts you can find that claim to be done by experts. Granted, some have more merit than others, but that doesn't mean predicting what will happen in the NFL Draft is any more or less of a shot in the dark as a March Madness bracket, and that is ok.
Anyone can make one, and we decided to ask ten fans of the NFL, and various NFL teams, to see what they could come up with, stripping all bias, and see how it holds up to the, shall we say, "profesional". We have time to gage the results since the first round isn't until Thursday, but Saints fans should be satisfied in the meantime. There won't be any trades, as that would have gotten too messy. So let's get into it.
The NFC South gets a new quarterback for the Saints to face twice a year for (potentially) the next decade in former Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young. He has drawn comps to Drew Brees so for the sake of Saints fans, better hope it doesn't come to that.
It seems the common fans are sensing the incoming fire within the smoke that the Houston Texans will pull the ol' "Vonte Mack no matter what" routine from the movie Draft Day by forgoing the quarterback in favor of the best player available.
Not to be outdone, the Arizona Cardinals will grab the player reportedly at the top of their boards (potentially even higher than Anderson) and begin their rebuild that way with the quarterback already locked up, depending on if his homework gets done.
The first major shock of the night comes when the Indianapolis Colts get to not only stay put and get their quarterback, but that it'll be Anthony Richardson and not CJ Stroud or Will Levis.
While the Pete Carroll-era in Seattle has seen his team go against the grain in the first round of drafts, Jalen Carter falling right into their laps is too good for even them to pass up, as they get arguably the best player in the entire draft on the outskirts of the top five.
The offense of the Detroit Lions was a fireworks show. The defense meanwhile supplied the fireworks so opposing offenses can put on their shows. They do have some pieces, and the drafting of Christian Gonzalez is another one of those pieces, with Dan Campbell and company hoping he is the player the previous regime thought the recently traded Jeff Okudah would be.
There's a lot of noise coming from Vegas, but the fact of the matter is, their defense needs work, and has needed so for a while, particularly in the back end. Any fan of football can see that, so this mock has the potential second-best corner heading to Sin City.
The free-fall of CJ Stroud comes to a crash landing with the Atlanta Falcons, and suddenly there are two new top-ten quarterbacks for Derek Carr and the Saints do deal with, and suddenly the future of the NFC South is back being clouded in mystery.
If there's one thing the city of big shoulders loves, it's their defense. Lukas Van Ness has the style and the attitude to fit right into the Windy City, whose roster around Justin Fields is suddenly not looking too shabby at this point in the offseason.
The best team in the NFC (and the one that has the pick the Saints originally have) do what they tend to do, and beef up their trenches. The Philadelphia Eagles have one of the best offensive lines we've ever seen, but they're no spring chickens, and the drafting of one of, if not the top tackles in the draft helps Jalen Hurts feeling protected for years to come.
Front offices seem to like Ryan Tannehill, while the average NFL fan does not. Will Levis wasn't feeling happy in Happy Valley, but a sudden switch to the SEC (albeit with Kentucky) and away from Penn Sate, and suddenly he's a fringe-top ten quarterback, with reports all over the place on where he lands. This common fan mock draft seems to reflect that.
With the "big four" (if you want to call it that) quarterbacks now gone, the Texans once again take the best player available, and whoever is throwing Jaxon Smith-Njigba the ball (Davis Mills or perhaps a lil' Lamar Jackson/Trey Lance action) is one happy camper.
The Green Bay Packers finally take a wide receiver in the first round, and are thrilled that Quentin Johnson is the one to fall to them. The chanters of "Go Pack Go!" are excited with their new rookie, just in time for Aaron Rodgers to go, pack and go.
Some draft boards might have other receivers higher, but when have we ever known Bill Belichick to do what others say? He takes his guy, and at the very least Patriots fans have a new receiver if nothing else, whether they choose to watch or not.
With Aaron Rodgers now officially coming town, he will need protection to get the ball to the talented pass-catchers the Big Apple have at their disposal. Well, the Jets anyway. Peter Skoronski is just what the doctor ordered, and Jets fans are starting to feel like they can come out of the darkness.
No one really knows what's going on in our nation's capital, both in politics, and in football. In that spirit, they do all they can do, and that's take who they feel is best player available in Broderick Jones, who is far from a consolation prize.
The Pittsburgh Steelers also do what they tend to do, and attempt to build on their offensive line, this time to help protect Kenny Pickett. They may be one of the better drafting teams, but they never seem to get this right. Fortunately, they can do a lot worse than Darnell Wright,.
The renaissance of the Lions defense continues with Nolan Smith out of Georgia, and the championship pedigree he brings to go with Aiden Hutchinson gives the Motor City a pair of pass-rushers anyone would be proud of.
How the mighty have fallen. Tom Brady is gone, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need help almost everywhere, but especially in the trenches. With that, they turn to to Caliah Kancey, who has had a surprising fall in his own right, out of Pittsburgh, a school that has quietly built a nice legacy for their quality NFL players, particularly in the trenches.
Now for the other Pennsylvania school, Joey Porter out of Penn State gives Pete Carroll and company what they hope will be something remotely resembling the Legion of Boom secondary that helped them achieve great success. Obviously it's a long shot to say they'll become that, but suddenly this secondary is deep, particularly at corner.
The Los Angeles Chargers always have a great roster on paper, but can never seem to stay healthy. That's especially true at wide receiver, and Jordan Addison, from USC who has produced solid wide receivers by way of Pitt (something in the river water in the Keystone State), and it's hard for Chargers fans to complain,
It seems that NFL fans don't have any faith in the Baltimore Ravens to actually address their biggest need (wide receiver) and feel that the team feels that the signing of Odell Beckham Jr. was a job well done. They'll instead go with the best player available in Emmanuel Forbes, a strategy that has worked for them in the past. If the mood of Lamar Jackson wasn't already close to rock bottom, this might help get him there, however.
The defense of the Minnesota Vikings had the worst defense in football in 2022, and were even torched by the likes of Daniel Jones. Still, they were a playoff team (despite losing to Jones there too), and an upgrade in the secondary is the perfect place to start retooling with Rodgers suddenly gone from the the division.
It's almost weird to see the Jacksonville Jaguars picking this late, but they have to be thrilled with Myles Murphy falling to them. The pairing of Murphy and last year's number one overall pick Travon Walker could give the already shaky opposing AFC South quarterbacks nightmares.
When it comes to the Big Blue Wrecking Crew, they're going to draft offensive line, and it's a coin-flip on whether or not it works out. Fans know that, but of course that was the old regime filled with some bad GMing. Now, there's been a run of good GMing, and while this may seem like a reach on the surface, New York Giants fans are pleased that the team seems to know what they're doing drafting for need.
Many would be surprised if Bijan Robinson fell this far, but the fans we had to the mock draft felt that this marriage was pretty much inevitable, and it's hard to disagree. Zeke Elliott is gone, Robinson went to Texas, and Jerry Jones loves his splash draft picks. It almost makes too much sense.
Fans want Josh Allen to succeed, but they feel he needs more protection. Their offensive line was always a piece or two away, and Steve Avila, a stud guard who has been linked to the Saints, could potentially be that piece.
The secondary of the underrated Cincinnati Bengals defense was always the, for lack of a better term, "weak spot". Even with that, they have seen some of those players leave, so the decision to draft the best corner left in Julius Brents makes sense.
Finally it's Saints time. We've written about O'Cyrus Torrence in the past, and for good reason. He is arguably the best guard in the draft, and possesses versatility to do more. The futures of the present Saints starting guards are cloudy, but Torrence is good enough to step in and start day one anyway. NFL fans agree in this mock, and Saints fans should too.
Another pick that could be seen as a reach, but Howie Roseman is not above reaches, especially when it comes to the City of Brotherly Love's beloved offensive and defensive lines. The mammoth Siaki Ika paired with Jordan Davis would give the defending NFC champion a pair of defensive tackles that would potentially take five offensive linemen to block just the pair. It's pretty hard to pass that up.
It almost seems unfair. Jalin Hyatt was another player linked to the Saints, and he very well could end up in the Big Easy, but in this mock, fans think the talented wide receiver falls right into the laps of Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes. So that's just dynamite.
So in conclusion, no one really knows anything leading up to the Draft. As this exercise was nearing completion, the news of Aaron Rodgers being officially traded broke. Still, mock drafts will always be a fun way to pass the time before the real thing, and in the case of the New Orleans Saints, it's tough to be mad with how they made out. The potential new quarterbacks in division is another story entirely.