What draft grades have the media given to the New Orleans Saints? What are they saying about the Saints' 2023 draft haul?
NFL.com - Grade: B+
Saldiveri fills the Saints' need for an athletic interior lineman, but I thought he could go in Round 3. Haener was the perfect selection as an efficient backup for Derek Carr with starter potential, so giving up a seventh-rounder this year and a 2024 fourth-round pick made sense. Safety was on their needs list, too, and Howden made himself into a draftable player this season. Sending tight end Adam Trautman to Denver to get a downfield threat in Perry benefitted both parties.
ESPN - Grade: B-
New Orleans instead landed my third-ranked DT Bryan Bresee (29), who isn't as good against the run as Carter but does have some pass-rush upside. After his freshman season in 2020, I thought Bresee was a future top-five pick, but he missed all of 2021 with an ACL injury. If he can put everything together, he could be worth it, because teams covet interior pass-rushers.
I thought the Saints reached a bit for edge rusher Isaiah Foskey (40) on Day 2, and I would have preferred running back Devon Achane over Kendre Miller (71). Nick Saldiveri (103) played mostly right tackle in college, but he likely will move inside to guard for New Orleans. Quarterback Jake Haener (127) landed in a fun spot; his closest comp in size and mechanics is Drew Brees. Now, if the 6-foot passer becomes as good as Brees, I'll be regrading this draft as an A+, but I see his ceiling as a really solid backup behind Derek Carr or a low-end starter. A.T. Perry (195), a 6-foot-3 wideout, had 26 touchdowns over the past two seasons.
There were a few significant reaches in this New Orleans class, which drops it to the lowest tier of these grades.
SI - Grade: B
PFF - Grade: B-
Day 2: Foskey has the size and athletic profile that New Orleans tends to covet on the edge. He uses his 34-plus-inch arms well to keep himself clean but never dominated as a pass-rusher at Notre Dame like his sack numbers might indicate, posting a 42nd-percentile pass-rush grade at the position over the past two seasons.
Miller was remarkably productive at TCU, averaging over 6.5 yards per carry over the last two seasons. He earned an 88.5 rushing grade and forced 70 missed tackles in 2022, the latter a top-25 mark. Miller can bounce runs outside and make one sharp cut to get upfield in a hurry, and his 816 yards after contact ranked sixth in the Power Five.
Day 3: Saldiveri earned an 85.1 pass-blocking grade in 2022 at tackle but likely moves inside to guard at the next level. Both starting guards in New Orleans are entering contract years if the Saints decline the fifth-year option for 2020 first-round pick Cesar Ruiz. Saldiveri was a late riser who generated a ton of buzz over the last few weeks, and New Orleans felt it was necessary to trade up to ensure it got him.
The Saints give up a 2024 fourth-round pick to move all the way up from Pick 227 and select the Fresno State quarterback. Haener excelled on throws between 10 and 19 yards downfield, producing a 92.1 PFF grade on those plays, but he earned just a 45.7 PFF grade under pressure.
Howden earned an 80.6 coverage grade with an 18.4% forced incompletion rate in 2022, and he rarely misses a tackle (3.1% missed tackle rate). He's a solid and reliable player on the back end with above-average athleticism and almost 2,000 snaps over the past three seasons.
Perry's consistency left something to be desired at Wake Forest, but this is great value for the Saints in Round 6. Perry has an impressive catch radius paired with an ability to create separation downfield. He's coming off back-to-back seasons at Wake Forest with at least 1,000 receiving yards and 10 touchdown receptions.
Forsyth played 805 snaps in 2022, producing a 72.0 grade in 2022 that included an 83.5 true pass-blocking grade. He allowed just one hurry from 408 pass-blocking snaps.
Fox Sports - Grade: C+
USA Today - Grade: C+
The Ringer - Grade: C-
Sporting News - Grade: B
Touchdown Wire - Grade: B
The steal of this group is Wake Forest receiver A.T. Perry, who I thought would go in the second day. Perhaps the Demon Deacons' offense is tough for NFL people to project (I would understand that), but Perry caught 81 passes for 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. I'm not sure how much "projecting" you need to do there. And the Saints can have Fresno State Alumni Day every day with Derek Carr and Jake Haener, who is a quality developmental quarterback.
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