Here’s what the Saints’ missing draft picks tells us about their 2024 Draft strategy

In the 2024 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints only have two picks in the first four rounds because they shipped picks away. How will that impact this draft?
Wild Card Round - Minnesota Vikings v New Orleans Saints
Wild Card Round - Minnesota Vikings v New Orleans Saints / Sean Gardner/GettyImages

The 2024 NFL Draft will be a big opportunity for the New Orleans Saints to build their roster with talented players on affordable contracts. Considering that the Saints were 9-8 a season ago, and are playing in the NFC South— arguably the worst division in the league —New Orleans is only a few moves away from being able to win the division and go to the playoffs.

A strong draft could help the Saints accomplish that goal. Currently, New Orleans has nine picks in the upcoming draft to get that done. However, the Saints have just two picks in the first four rounds. They have a first-round pick at No. 14 and a second-round pick at No. 45, then they aren’t back on the clock until the fifth round. From there, New Orleans will have four fifth-round picks, two in the sixth, and a seventh-round pick to end things.

This begs the question: what happened to New Orleans’ third- and fourth-round picks in the 2024 Draft?

What happened to Saints’ third- and fourth-round picks in the 2024 Draft?

It’s important to note that the 45th-overall pick that New Orleans has isn’t even the team’s original pick; the Saints received that from the Denver Broncos in the Sean Payton trade. So technically, New Orleans doesn’t own it’s second-, third-, or fourth-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Robert Mays, host of The Athletic Football Show, did the work of tracking down these picks. Breaking it all down, Mays explained that the Saints’ second-round pick was sent to the Philadelphia Eagles when New Orleans traded up to select Trevor Penning in the 2022 NFL Draft. The third-round pick was sent back to Denver along with Sean Payton, and the fourth-round pick went to the Jacksonville Jaguars when the Saints traded up to select Jake Haener.

If this track down of the picks tells you anything, it’s that New Orleans probably won’t sit idle during rounds three and four. With four fifth-round picks, and a ton of future picks, the Saints will certainly trade up to select a prospect they want.