The Saints have the twenty-fourth pick and are in the twilight of the Drew Brees era. They have had some tough playoff losses and fallen short of getting to the Super Bowl, but they will try again.
The Saints have five picks in the draft: a first, no second, a third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and no seventh. The second-round pick is compensation for trading up and selecting Erik McCoy last year, while their pick in the seventh goes to the Giants for Eli Apple.
I list the needs below, including major, for depth, and areas they are unlikely to look at. I may add categories for a particular situation.
Major Needs (No Particular Order):
Quarterback: Drew Brees has been one of the best for some time, but he is 40 years old. Taysom Hill is the backup, now that Teddy Bridgewater went to Carolina as a free agent. He can play a number of roles, but I am skeptical as to whether he can be their answer whenever Brees retires. The Saints could pick a player to groom at any point in the draft.
Wide Receiver: Michael Thomas had an unbelievable year, catching 149 passes and he has help with the signing of Emmanuel Sanders from the 49ers. There was little in this area after Thomas and it hurt them in the playoffs. Tre’Quan Smith has been a disappointment to date. Others on the roster include Deonte Harris, Lil’Jordan Humphrey, and Austin Carr. Ted Ginn is also unsigned. They still need a quality receiver after the Sanders signing for three-receiver packages and for depth.
Offensive Line: This is a very good starting group, but left guard was a problem last year. Andrus Peat did not have a good year, missed games being injured, and was replaced by Nick Easton. The opposite guard is Larry Warford, while second-round pick Erik McCoy was everything they’d hoped he would be. The tackles are Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk, both very good and Ramczyk being named first-team All-Pro. Others include Nick Clapp and Cameron Tom. Patrick Omameh is unsigned. They will need to improve the situation at left guard if Peat does not return to form and Warford will be in the last year of his contract. A pick could be used for depth or a future starter.
Linebacker: Demario Davis was first team All-Pro on the outside. In the middle, Kiko Alonso tore his ACL, while Alex Anzalone has been hampered by injuries in two of his three professional seasons. AJ Klein was a starter who left for Buffalo in free agency. Two reserves are Craig Robertson and Kaden Ellis, with Robertson being a top special teams player. Stephone Anthony, Manti Te’o, and Josh Martin are all unsigned. In addition, Davis, Alonso, and Anzalone can be free agents next year. At least one more player is needed here who can push for a starting job and to add depth.
Cornerback: Marshon Lattimore and Janoris Jenkins will be the starters, while PJ Williams is in the running for the third corner with Patrick Robinson. Justin Hardee is a good special teams player and Deatrick Nichols comes from the XFL. Johnson Bademosi is unsigned. Help is needed at the corner to challenge for a starting position or for depth.
Safety: Marcus Williams returns at free safety and Malcolm Jenkins returns to New Orleans to replace Vonn Bell, who left in free agency. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is becoming valuable and he may also play in the slot. DJ Swearinger, Saquan Hampton, JT Gray, and Chris Johnson are on the roster. Williams can be a free agent next year and picking a safety can make for an easier transition.
Running Back: Alvin Kamara is a very good back, both running and receiving. Latavius Murray was also productive. Taquan Mizzell is on the roster and Dwayne Washington is an unsigned free agent. West Morris alum Michael Burton was signed to replace the retired Zach Line at fullback and Ricky Ortiz is also available. Dwayne Washington is unsigned. If they pick a back, it will be for depth.
Tight End: Jared Cook is a good, receiving tight end, but is 33 years old. Josh Hill snagged 25 passes and blocked well as the second tight end. Garrett Griffin, Jason VanderLaan, and Cole Wick are also on the roster. A tight end to work his way into the lineup can be drafted in the middle rounds.
Defensive Line: This might be the deepest unit on the team. Cameron Jordan had 15.5 sacks and Marcus Davenport is an ascending player entering his third year who had 6 sacks. Trey Hendrickson is good off the bench with 4.5 sacks. Tackle has Sheldon Rankins, David Onyemata, and Malcom Brown all having started. Rankins has battled injuries, but started every game in 2017 and 2018. Shy Tuttle, Mario Edwards, and Taylor Stallworth are all capable players at tackle. I only see a pick if it is the best player available.
*Information from various sources, including Pro-Football Reference, Sportac, and ESPN.