Saints solve quarterback dilemma in mock draft 1.0
The New Orleans Saints will be in the quarterback market in 2023. With our first Saints mock draft, they come out of the hunt with a bargain.
To put it lightly, the New Orleans Saints have their work cut out for them this offseason. The Saints need a quarterback, and will eventually needing to replace aging stars to go along with their young talent. That's not even getting into their salary cap situation either.
Fortunately, the 2023 NFL Draft is right around the corner, and it's the perfect place to restock, and reload. Naturally, this will be the main talking point amongst Saints fans after Super Bowl LVII, so with that said, there's no time like the present. Let's get into it.
Round 1 DT Siaka Ika Baylor
The Saints made no secret of their love last year for current Eagles defensive tackle Jordan Davis. Siaka Ika fits the Davis profile, a large run-stuffing nose tackle with quick feet and active hands. The Saints run defense fell to 24th in the league last year, after posting four consecutive seasons of being top five in the NFL in rushing yards allowed. Ika's ability to take on multiple blockers should allow Saints linebackers Demario Davis and Pete Werner to freely roam the field and dramatically improve on that rating.
Round 2 OG O'Cyrus Torrence Florida
O'Cyrus Torrence is easily one of the most highly rated interior offensive lineman in this year's draft. The former Louisiana offensive lineman followed Billy Napier to Gainesville and had an outstanding season against SEC competition. Torrence has a massive build and can physically move defenders in the run game while also possessing the quickness to get to the second level when needed. Torrence was a four-year starter in college and didn't allow one sack during his entire collegiate career. The Saints would do well to come away with Torrence in the early second round, given the uncertainty surrounding Andrus Peat and his inflated salary.
Round 3 RB Tyjae Spears Tulane
The secret is out on star Tulane RB Tyjae Spears after his dominant performance during Senior Bowl week. Spears exhibits patience and vision in his runs, with surprising power despite his limited size and outstanding receiving skills. Spears traits reminds many of current Saints RB Alvin Kamara, who still may face an extended suspension due to his involvement in an incident in Las Vegas one year ago, The Saints could take advantage of a strong running back class to grab a co-star for their backfield next season as well as a potential RB1 once Kamara's time in New Orleans comes to an end.
Round 4 Trade for QB Derek Carr
Despite the Sean Payton trade, the Saints do not possess the draft capital to move up for star quarterbacks Bryce Yound or CJ Stroud. Plus, Dennis Allen is unlikely to trust his offense to any other rookie quarterback on both the team's future, and his. Derek Carr, who was drafted by Allen in 2014 when he was head coach of the Oakland Raiders, has a full no-trade clause in his contract. Therefore, if New Orleans becomes Carr's preferred destination, Mickey Loomis and company would have the leverage to acquire Carr and even insist on a contract restructuring without having to use a day one or two pick. If not, the Raiders would be forced to release Carr without trade compensation before February 15th, when his 32.9 million dollar contract for 2023 as well as 7.5 million dollars for 2024 becomes fully guaranteed.
Round 5 S Marte Mapu Sacramento State
With the recent loss of co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Kris Richard, Cory Robinson is a name to know. Robinson spent this past season as an assistant secondary coach for New Orleans and was one of a handful of young coaches throughout the NFL to coach at this year's Senior Bowl. Robinson would have intimate knowledge of FCS star Marte Mapu, a standout who played all over the field for Sacramento State. Mapu, along with former Auburn safety Smoke Monday, would provide much needed depth in the Saints secondary behind starters Tyrann Mathieu and Marcus Maye,
Round 5 QB Max Duggan TCU
Max Duggan and the TCU Horned Frogs were the surprise and talk of 2022-2023 college football season. The Heisman finalist started 43 games in his collegiate career and has the grittiness and leadership qualities teams look for in their signal-caller. Duggan has the processing capabilities needed to be successful in the NFL, traits that make him comparable to last season's Mr. Irrevelant, Brock Purdy. Duggan could add to a quarterback room in New Orleans that could feature trade target Carr as well as the potential resigning of backup quarterback Andy Dalton.
Round 7 Trade
The Saints currently own one 7th round pick in this year's draft and are in line to receive a second 7th round pick as part of the NFL's compensatory formula. The Saints would be wise to trade both of these picks to move up into the 6th round or to marginally move up at any point in the draft. The Saints have a long history of success with undrafted free agents, including last year's sensation Rashid Shaheed. Getting a head start on talking with the agents of potential undrafted free agents would be a big asset to New Orleans as it builds its 2023-2024 roster.
We're still early in the season of mock drafts. With that said, if the New Orleans Saints can pull off a haul like this, then fans have every right to already be excited for both the present, and future.