New Orleans Saints April Scouting Report
This month I will be writing about the New Orleans Saints 2021 Draft outlook. They have needs and potential selections that could shape the future of the franchise, and change the outlook for fantasy managers everywhere. After the draft, we will look at all of the roster changes and fantasy implications, but for now, we focus on one of the best weekends of the year. It’s finally draft weekend for 2021, and there are a large group of phenomenal prospects.
Jameis Winston will almost certainly be the starting quarterback for week 1, but the future for the position is less than certain. Drew Brees retirement has opened the door for a new franchise quarterback to take the reins, but who it will be is still a major question. Taysom Hill is still on the roster, but I expect the Saints to make a move to get a young quarterback to develop either in this year’s draft, next year’s draft, in free agency, or by making a trade. So, for now we will look at the options for the team in this year’s draft.
QBs Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Mac Jones and Justin Fields seem unattainable for the team at the moment. They are the top players in the draft at the position, and the Saints would have to trade away major capital to have a chance at selecting any of these players. QB Trey Lance is also probably out of the question as he has been projected in the same area of the draft as the other top prospects, but a name that could be in the conversation for the franchise is Florida QB Kyle Trask. Trask isn’t a very refined player, but he has the raw talent and potential to be a developmental player on the roster. Teams have not been afraid to reach at the quarterback position in the past, and the Saints could be in the same position this year.
The Saints have one of the most complete backfields in the league. RB Alvin Kamara and RB Latavius Murray are of the best backfield tandems in the league, and they don’t need much help at the position. They have needs out wide and, on their defense, that far outweigh any upside that a running back selection could do for them. Don’t expect them to do anything more than select depth on day 3 at this position.
This is where I expect the Saints to make a splash. WR Michael Thomas is one of the best No. 1 WRs in the league, and his down season shouldn’t be too much of a concern for the future, but the Saints need more help out wide for their new starting quarterback. Top wideout prospects WR Jamarr Chase, WR Devonta Smith and WR Jaylen Waddle are most likely unattainable with the Saint’s draft position. The players I think would be great fits for the team are WR Rondale Moore, WR Terrace Marshall Jr., and WR Rashod Bateman. Purdue WR Rondale Moore is a short and stocky slot receiver who can make plays in all sorts of ways. He would add an extra dynamic to the team that they haven’t had in a long time. He would be able to stretch the field and keep the edge defenders on high alert with his impressive jet sweep abilities. LSU WR Terrace Marshall Jr. is an outstanding all-around prospect. He can make contested catches, runs crisp routes and can create separation with his speed and agility. Marshall would be a great complement to Thomas on the opposite side of the field, and would make this offense more well-rounded outside of their star players. Minnesota WR Rashod Bateman is one of my favorite prospects in this year’s draft. He may already be selected by the time the Saints are on the clock, but if he falls back to them, he will be a tremendous value. He had a phenomenal pro day outing, and he showed that he can run with the best of them. His polished route running and phenomenal ball skills would make him one of the best No. 2 receivers in the division even as a rookie. If the Saints decide to pass on the position in the first round to take a defensive player, WR Elijah Moore, WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, and WR Kadarius Toney could be names to keep an eye on in the second round.
TE Jared Cook is no longer a member of the Saints, and TE Adam Trautman from Dayton looks to step into the role in his second year with the team. The Saints could take a tight end in the later rounds to add some depth to their younger tight end room, but I wouldn’t expect any rookie TEs to step into a fantasy relevant role with the offense.
The Saints are in need of help on defense after being depleted during the offseason. Cap Room troubles made it impossible to hold onto some of their top defensive players like DE Trey Hendrickson and CB Janoris Jenkins. I expect them to take a cornerback and safety in the early rounds, and you could see them take an EDGE player as well. Wideout looks to be the only offensive position where they have an immediate need, so you could see the Saints stockpile their roster with defensive talent in the 2021 Draft. This defense should still be a good fantasy play in good matchups with the talent they still have, but a young core group of players will make them a less consistent defense than they have been in past years.
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