Saints select an under-the-radar player early in recent ESPN mock draft

There are several talented prospects flying under the radar ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft, and ESPN thinks the New Orleans Saints will select one early.
NFL Combine
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Every year, leading up to the NFL Draft, all the talk is about the big-name prospects. More specifically, pre-draft discussion is usually dominated by quarterbacks and receivers. However, over 200 players will be selected over the course of the three-day, seven-round event. A lot of those players will be under-the-radar prospects that are still extremely talented.

In a recent mock draft, one analyst projected that one of these under-the-radar prospects will hear their name called relatively early. ESPN draft analyst Jordan Reid recently released his final mock draft for 2024, and in the second round, Reid projected that the New Orleans Saints will select Western Michigan edge defender Marshawn Kneeland.

Saints select Marshawn Kneeland in recent mock draft

Reid referred to Kneeland as “one of the fastest-rising prospects on the board.” The Western Michigan defender had a strong showing at the Senior Bowl, and also impressed at the combine, measuring in at 6-foot-3, 267 pounds, and running a 4.75 second 40-yard dash. He also played four years in college, recording 12.5 sacks and 28 tackles for a loss.

Jordan Reid pointed out that last season, the Saints only had 34 sacks as a team, which ranked 28th in the league. That’s simply not going to cut it if a team wants to be competitive and challenge for a Super Bowl. That’s why New Orleans signed veteran defensive end Chase Young this offseason, and now Reid thinks a rookie edge defender could also be added to the party.

It’ll be interesting to see if that’s the approach the Saints want to take. With New Orleans likely selecting an offensive tackle in the first round, the team could go in several different directions in round two. Finding a receiver, defensive linemen, edge and interior, or another offensive lineman are all options the Saints could look at in round two.