Saturday, August 29, 2020

New Orleans Saints NFL Mock Draft Roundup, 2.0

Throughout the year and leading up to the 2021 NFL draft, we will update our New Orleans Saints Mock Draft Roundup showing picks for the New Orleans Saints from several prominent sites and draft analysts.

The following are picks in recent mock drafts for the Saints:

Rotoworld - Thor Nystrom (8/21)

29. Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

Assuming Adam Trautman doesn't show star traits immediately, New Orleans may be in the market for a difference-making tight end next offseason. Pitts is the most skilled and explosive receiving option in this class. He was easily Florida's most reliable target last year. And with Alvin Kamara's future potentially up in the air as the Saints assess their cap situation following the 2020 season, New Orleans may just use this slot to grab the best offensive playmaker they can get their hands on.

PFF - Mike Renner (8/19)

30. Chazz Surratt, LB, North Carolina

This one is still a massive projection as Surratt was a bit of a rollercoaster in his first season at linebacker after switching from quarterback. He's an incredibly smooth athlete and has the willingness to stick his nose in it that you either have or you don't at linebacker. At the same time, he was a horrendous tackler, with 27 misses on 130 attempts, and he had a ton of misreads on tape. I can forgive those in Year 1, but if they're still an issue on his tape in 2020, he won't sneak his way into the first round.

The Draft Network - Kyle Crabbs (8/19)

28. Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

The Saints pluck a tight end of their own, landing athletic Kyle Pitts to serve as another compliment to Michael Thomas in the passing game. The Saints will have a hard time retaining Alvin Kamara in free agency with their salary cap situation, so another athletic mismatch-type player to add to the passing game will be an important layer to account for as the team transitions away from QB Drew Brees -- who is expected to retire after the season.

Pro Football Network - Oliver Hodgkinson (8/16)

29. Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri

Is 2020 the final year we see Drew Brees? Will Jameis Winston get a crack at becoming the franchise quarterback, or will the New Orleans Saints add a face of the franchise in the 2021 NFL Draft? It's an option, but there is also a need to upgrade a linebacker group that could lose at least one of Demario Davis, Alex Anzalone, and Kiko Alonso. Another cornerback opposite Marshon Lattimore could also be an early-round consideration.

Question marks over Nick Bolton's size at the linebacker position may impact his stock, but there is no denying that the man from Missouri can play football. Outside of Parsons and Moses, Bolton could be the best all-around linebacker in the 2021 NFL Draft as he is seemingly as comfortable in pass coverage as he is in flying downhill to disrupt the run game.

ESPN - Todd McShay (8/12)

31. Charleston Rambo, WR, Oklahoma

One more receiver for the mock, making it eight total, or 25% of the Day 1 picks. But hey, the class is good, and even after that loaded 2020 class, there are still a lot of teams in need. New Orleans, which had only four picks in 2020, is on that list. Beyond Michael Thomas, who do the Saints have? Emmanuel Sanders will be 34 years old at draft time, and Tre'Quan Smith still hasn't made the jump. Rambo broke out a bit for Oklahoma in 2019, with 43 catches for 743 yards and five scores despite being a secondary option to CeeDee Lamb.

The Draft Network - Jordan Reid (8/10)

31. Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia

A once highly touted recruit from American Heritage High School in Florida, Campbell played opposite of Patrick Surtain II and formed one of the more formidable tandems in the high school ranks. Transitioning to Georgia has been a bit of a challenge for the former 5-star, but the spurts of positive play ooze first-round traits at the position. Putting it together during his junior season could result in him being the next corner in line from Athens to turn into a first-round selection.

Marshon Lattimore enters a crucial season as he seeks to become one of the league's highest-paid players at the position, and the team also recently signed Janoris Jenkins to a short term, two-year extension after adding him upon his release from the Giants last season. With an opt-out option included in his contract following the season, if he doesn't show well then the team could look at alternate options with pairing Campbell with Lattimore.

Pro Football Network - Matthew Valdovinos (8/9)

29. Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

I said a few days ago that I believe the Saints have the best roster in the NFL. Their biggest needs in my eyes are nickel corner and WR3. The last time the Saints drafted a wide receiver from Ohio State, it worked out pretty well. Doing it again might give them arguably the top pass-catching unit in the NFL.

Chris Olave will be a big riser if we get a college football season this year, as I expect him to be one of the most productive receivers in the nation. Strong athlete with good size and elites hands, Olave is in the next in line of successful Ohio State receivers in the NFL.

The Draft Network - Joe Marino (8/3)

31. Jaylen Twyman, IDL, Pittsburgh

Sheldon Rankins was tremendous in 2017 and 2018, but injuries in 2016 and 2019 are concerning. With the Saints in a tight salary cap position, committing big money to Rankins is a risky decision, especially with the money already tied up in David Onyemata and Cam Jordan on the defensive line. In addition, Malcom Brown is a free agent after the season.

Twyman is a dynamic interior penetrator with exciting pass-rushing upside at the next level. In his first season as a starter at Pitt, Twyman racked up 12 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. He can create pressure in the face of the quarterback and help retool the Saints' interior defensive line.

Previous update: New Orleans Saints Mock Draft Roundup 1.0

MORE TEAMS: All NFL Team Mock Draft Roundups

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