What positions should the Saints address in the 2024 NFL Draft to become a contender?

With the 2024 NFL Draft approaching, the New Orleans Saints have several needs they must address if they want to compete for another Super Bowl.
Wild Card Round - Minnesota Vikings v New Orleans Saints
Wild Card Round - Minnesota Vikings v New Orleans Saints / Sean Gardner/GettyImages

The New Orleans Saints are entering another offseason where they’ll be challenged with getting under the cap. Currently projected to be roughly $70 million over the cap, it’s clear that New Orleans won’t be going on a free agency spending spree. That means the Saints must really knock the draft out of the park so the team can improve and contend next season.

New Orleans’ first pick in the draft is currently 14th overall, and the franchise will have several more picks deep into the late rounds. The question is: what directions should the Saints go in the draft? New Orleans has a few positions that need to be addressed immediately, as well as positions occupied by veterans that are close to moving on. How should the Saints prioritize those needs?

Draft analyst Chad Reuter answered that in a recent piece naming the top five needs for all 32 teams in the league. For New Orleans, Reuter listed the top five needs as edge, wide receiver, offensive tackle, cornerback, and defensive tackle.

Saints top five needs entering draft season

Wide receiver has become an interesting position for New Orleans. With Michael Thomas likely moving on in free agency, the team will continue to rely on Chris Olave as the No. 1 wide receiver and Rashid Shaheed who’s coming off a breakout season. The Saints also have A.T. Perry, who emerged as a big-play threat at the end of his rookie season. Still, you can never have enough weapons in this league, so New Orleans needs to keep building the wide receiver room.

Offensive line has been another big area of discussion as well. Between health and underperformance, the Saints had a mediocre line. They weren’t bad in pass protection but they did struggle to carve out running lanes. If the Saints can get a quality lineman in the first round of the draft, it would start the process of the line getting younger and improving.

As Reuter highlighted, there are quite a few positions on defense for New Orleans to address. While the Saints may use their early picks on offensive positions like wide receiver and offensive line, the bulk of their picks in the draft may be on defensive players.