Well, the draft just got a lot more exciting. At least there’s that after the shocking blockbuster Brandin Cooks trade. I, like many of you, feel the Saints got robbed on this one. The return of a 32nd overall and 3rd (sending back a 4th) is just not the value I expected for Cooks. I actually hope the Saints send back the 32nd pick for Malcolm Butler. I would much prefer that to this terrible deal. Anyway, the Saints have extra picks and it’s immediately time to revamp this roster. So I immediately turned to Fanspeak’s mock draft simulator to drown my sorrows. Here’s what I came up with thanks to the new selections:
1st round, 11th overall: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
I know he was the hot name early in mocks and has since fizzled a bit, but he’s still my guy. I saw him play too much and utterly dominate SEC tackles on the regular to be convinced Taco Charlton is better. The Saints need a pass rusher desperately and he is it.
1st round, 32nd overall: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
I’m surprised he fell to this spot in this simulation and I question whether it will happen come late April, but if he’s there he will significantly mitigate the loss of Brandin Cooks and give this offense a vital playmaking shot in the arm. I shouldn’t have to justify this pick too much to the fan base.
2nd round, 42nd overall: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
I picked him at this stage of another mock and many of you told me there was no way he’d fall this far. But I’ve done the simulation countless times and White is available at this spot about 50% of the time. It’s possible he’ll get picked earlier, of course, but remember he has a ton of competition at corner with how deep this draft class is. That, and being 5’11” with so many 6 foot plus DB’s could push him out of the first round. I think it’s a real possibility and getting White at this stage of the draft would be a home run.
3rd round, 76th overall: Marcus Maye, S, Florida
He’s my third SEC guy in four picks but I was ecstatic he dropped. Vaccaro and Bell are clearly the starters but Maye has the flexibility to back up both with his skillset and he can give the Saints that three safety look with his versatility if Dennis Allen decides to give that look again. Maye is a terrific player that would be a tremendous backup for the Saints and could come in year one, start if necessary, and make a difference on special teams.
3rd round, 103rd overall: Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE, Villanova
Hopefully it’s clear I’m serious about improving the pass rush at this point. At 6’7″, 289lbs he’s got the size to look like Julius Peppers out there. I love him as a sub pass rusher that can be moved around on passing downs.
6th round, 196th overall: Jayon Brown, LB, UCLA
A little undersized, but could play WILL. This move is more about special teams. He can fly and he’s a great athlete. He also has good coverage skills, which could come in handy in some sub packages.
7th round, 229th overall: Jalen Robinette, WR, Air Force
He’s the complete package makeup wise and he reminds me of Colston a little bit, but a tiny bit smaller and faster. He’s raw and would need polish so he’d probably benefit from a year learning. Air Force doesn’t exactly prepare you for the NFL. Still, his ceiling is enormously high.