Saints rookies ranked near the bottom of the NFC South class

With the 2023 NFL season over for all NFC South teams, grades are being handed out for all four rookie classes.
Carolina Panthers v New Orleans Saints
Carolina Panthers v New Orleans Saints / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

The New Orleans Saints selected seven players in the 2023 NFL Draft class and also added some undrafted free agents. The class was headlined by first-round defensive lineman Bryan Bresee. Ultimately, the Saints didn’t have any immediate impact players, but they had multiple contributors that got their careers off to promising starts.

Recently, Eric Edholm graded all the draft classes in the NFC South. New Orleans finished with a C+ grade, ranking the rookie class third in the division. Edholm acknowledged that while the Saints didn’t have any rookies make a big splash, they had a few guys play well late in the season.

Saints rookie class graded third in NFC South

Bryan Bresee played in all 17 games and finished the year with 24 tackles, seven for a loss, and 4.5 sacks. As Edholm detailed, Bresee came on late in the year, noticeably improving throughout the season.

That was also the case for offensive weapons Kendre Miller and AT Perry. Miller finished his rookie season playing in just eight games, recording 41 carries for 156 yards and one touchdown. He also caught 10 passes for 117 yards. His best game came in Week 18 against the Atlanta Falcons, when he ran the ball 13 times for 73 yards. That was the moment that he made it clear that he could be a nice contributing piece for the Saints next season.

Perry’s best game also came in Week 18, catching three passes for 53 yards and two touchdowns. He finished year one with just 12 receptions for an explosive 246 yards and four touchdowns. People are already predicting a breakout year for him next season.

As Edholm pointed out, the most impactful rookies, be it positively or negatively, were the first-year specialists. Kicker Blake Grupe and punter Lou Hedley both had up and down seasons. They’ll need to bounce back next season to secure their future with the team, because specialists don’t typically have much room for error.

Considering the fact that the Saints are the oldest team in the NFL, these young players will need to step up for New Orleans and prove that they can be relied on. Hopefully, they’ll start that process next season.