New Orleans Saints Prospect Watch Less than a Month Before Draft Day


Over a month ago I provided a list of eight prospects that “I would keep an eye on” in the first round as the pre draft process progresses. Offensive tackle and speed rusher off the edge continue to be musts for this team. The Saints addressed the latter by signing the ultra talented former 2nd overall pick, Chase Young, however, these two positions are still priority for this team.

At this point in the process, all that will happen between now and draft time is overthinking from the entire NFL Draft media. Examples of this can already be found in the recent weeks: from Michigan’s JJ McCarthy nearly being the odds on favorite to go 2nd overall, to a large portion of the Bears fanbase freaking out over trading a quarterback who is 10-28 as a starter – this can be a toxic time in over-evaluating prospects.

This list will be split up into three parts: a first round watch, day two and day three options. The first round portion will consist of players that have a chance at being available at the Saints selection at 14 because there is a low likelihood they will move up from there (as much as Marvin Harrison Jr. would be an AWESOME fit in this offense). The next two portions become more fluid because there’s almost no question a team with as aggressive a track record as the New Orleans Saints will shake up their draft board in some way – especially with no selections from 45-149.

Going selection by selection for all nine of these picks is pretty much a waste of time – there is genuinely a zero percent that this is the way it falls for them at the end of the draft.

FIRST ROUND WATCH (14th Overall)

Alabama EDGE Rusher, Dallas Turner; CREDIT: (Alabama Athletics)

Tier 1:

Dallas Turner: EDGE, Alabama

Turner is the perfect combination of everything the Saints need on their defense. Despite being a top ten scoring defense, the Saints were almost shockingly bad at getting to the quarterback. With 34 sacks, the Saints tied with the New York Giants for 28th in the league over just the Cardinals, Bears and Panthers and just below the Patriots and Commanders. That group is quite literally made up of the worst teams in the league, and that is not coincidence. After the Chase Young signing, this probably isn’t considered their biggest need anymore. Even still, the Saints are in need for additional speed off the edge and another sack specialist. At 6’2″ 253 pounds (as of his pro day), Turner is far smaller then the first round defensive lineman they’ve drafted recently, but the organization has acknowledged how they need to rethink the position because of how susceptible they were to big plays by opposing quarterbacks and big plays in the run game in general. Turner’s freakish 6’11” wingspan, 4.47 40 yard dash and 40-inch vertical would be the exact change of pace and juice this defense needs. The issue is that there is a very real chance Turner could be gone by 14, and there is a question of even if the Saints will still be looking in that direction after the Young addition.

Olumuyiwa Fashanu: OT, Penn State

Fashanu is another dream scenario for the Saints if he were to be available at 14. Quite simply the Penn State tackle is an athlete and has every tool you could want out of a franchise tackle. The thing that stands out most in his game is his foot speed, and in the zone run scheme that Klint Kubiak will be running in the new-look Saints offense – that is an extremely valuable trait for an offensive lineman to have. His 6’6″ 319 pound frame comes with tremendous power that makes him a handful as a pass protector as well. New Orleans continues to be a mess at tackle, and with Andrus Peat almost 100% going elsewhere, Ryan Ramcyzk’s uncertain availability for this season and Trevor Penning being pretty much a mess in the NFL so far, this is pretty obviously the Saints biggest area of need. Fashanu is the perfect player to plug and play and be a spark for a unit that desperately needs one after being very poor in both pass protection and in the run game in 2023.

Brock Bowers: TE, Georgia

This is probably my favorite scenario for the Saints in the first round – even though it doesn’t fit one of their “biggest needs.” This did not feel like a possibility for him lasting this long just months ago, but after an injury-riddled 2023 and the possibility of him getting lost in the early shuffle of runs on quarterbacks, receivers and tackles that seems fairly plausible at this point. Bowers is simply one of the best overall players in this draft point blank period. His savvy route running, incredible hands and top end speed (once being clocked at 22 mph during a game) grouped with his size at 6’4″, 243 lbs will make him an impact receiver in-line and in the slot. His game emulates a combination of Travis Kelce and George Kittle in that he is an incredibly smart and fluid route runner like Kelce along with a freakish athlete like Kittle. Although he is not a fantastic run blocker, the Saints are desperately missing size and physicality in their receiving core – especially after parting ways with Michael Thomas. Bowers is the ideal man to work in that power-slot role and would give Klint Kubiak a dynamic chess piece to complement the speed he already has to work with at receiver. Watch his highlight video below and tell me the thought of him in a 49ers-esque system doesn’t make you insanely excited.

Oregon State Tackle, Taliese Fuaga (75); CREDIT: (Oregon State Athletics)

Tier 2:

JC Latham: Alabama, Taliese Fuaga: Oregon State, Amarius Mims: Georgia (OTs)

These are three more players no one should question at pick 14, and it’s no coincidence they are all tackles. Each of these three are plenty gifted to go this high or even higher, and again with the recent Ryan Ramcyzk rumors – tackle should be the only position considered besides the two examples above. All are massive (6’6; 320 or higher) and have very strong traits of a combination of power and agility in their game. Latham is an incredibly powerful and game changing run blocker, Fuaga is more of a technician in pass protection and Mims has the sort of stature that makes you question how a human can be built like this. All do it in different ways, but each should be viewed as a more than solid option for the Saints. If I had my pick of all three – I’d slightly lean Latham.


Florida State WR, Keon Coleman (4); CREDIT: Melina Myers – USA Today Sports

45th Overall:

Keon Coleman: FSU, Xavier Legette: South Carolina, Adonai Mitchell: Texas (WRs)

Another group of players I really like in this spot. All have one major thing in common, large contested catch specialists. Each of the three is over 6’2, 205 lbs and all are freakish athletes. Coleman specifically (who the Saints already have showed interest in) was an easy 1st round prospect before running an underwhelming 4.61 40 yard dash, but as I’ve continuously emphasized above – this is overthinking and overanalyzing season – and the value here is too much to pass up if his name is still on the board. His athleticism seems to be off the charts based off his pure highlight tape, and LSU fans became very aware of his ability last September in a 9 catch-122 yard-3 TD performance versus the Tigers. Legette would be my third choice of these options. His straight line speed may be superior to Coleman’s, but is not nearly as natural of a hands catcher. His 4.39 40 time along with his over 220 lbs frame strikes comparisons to Ole Miss pro-bowlers A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf, and is a great option at this pick for a team that needs size at WR. Adonai “AD” Mitchell is one of my favorite players in this class, and I needed to include him despite there being probably a 0% chance of him being available at 45.

Tyler Guyton: Oklahoma, Jordan Morgan: Arizona (OTs)

The Saints are very fortunate that on a year where tackle is the team’s number one need, the draft happens to be deepest at that position. Although both prospects listed here are raw, their talent gives them high upside if developed correctly. With new offensive line coach, John Benton, at the helm along with the optimism that Ryan Ramcyzk will play for at least this next season – there likely won’t be a lot of pressure for a rookie tackle to start day one. Guyton has rare traits for a tackle available in this spot, scoring 9.62/10 in RAS (Relative Athletic Score). His foot speed and agility at 6’8, 322 lbs with 34-inch-arms is more than ideal, but he has a ways to go with technique before being ready for NFL edge rushers. Morgan scored a 9.0/10 which wasn’t higher only due to his smaller stature (6’5, 320 lbs), but also excelled in agility testing and is strongest in his movement as a pass protector. He has to the tools (more so than Guyton) to be an early impact starter that would help the Saints if things went south for Trevor Penning or Ramczyk early this year.

Braden Fiske: FSU, IDL, Chop Robinson: EDGE, Penn State

Obviously we are covering a lot of scenarios here, but if the Saints still are dedicated to bolstering their bottom ranked pass rush – these are two players that would help with that immediately. Although undersized (6’4, 292 lbs), Fiske scored a 9.97/10 in RAS because of his explosiveness and agility testing (ranking top five in basically every drill). Robinson scored a 9.53/10 and is again undersized (6’3, 254 lbs) but tested off the charts in his combine performance as well. I don’t want to get too caught up in RAS or combine performance, but these are both players that break the mold of the Saints’ prototype at these positions because of their size. They are each the type of player the team should target because of their flexibility, bend and first step quickness point to them being high upside pass rushers that can win quickly – something the Saints simply don’t have enough of. Again, the Chase Young addition (barring a successful recovery) was a start, but there is still work to do at these spots.

Later Day 2 (Trade Up)

Washington State Safety, Jaden Hicks; CREDIT: Washington State Athletic Communications

Malachi Corley: Western Kentucky, WR

Credit to Ross Jackson (@RossJacksonNOLA) of ‘Locked On Saints’ for this one. At 5’11, 215 lbs, Corley has the compact frame of a running back and he fights through contact and breaks tackles as though he is one. ‘Deebo Samuel esque’ is something you will hear a lot when looking into Corely, and what better way to immerse Klint Kubiak’s scheme than to add a player that emulates a player that he had so much success scheming for in San Francisco last year. Obviously that is not a one to one comparison, but a physical presence is also something that is missing in the Saints receiving core. Corely figures to be available in the later parts of round two and even into round three given the historic depth of this receiver class, and would be worth a trade up if he slips far enough.

Jaden Hicks: Washington State, S

This is a little bit of a wildcard, but after losing Marcus Maye in free agency – the Saints could use a little depth and size at the position. Hicks is 6’2, 215 lbs and excels at being physical as a tackler and at the catch point. Dennis Allen usually lauds versatility at safety, and Hicks definitely needs work outside of the box in footwork and agility; however he had 2.5 sacks and 2 INTs (one pick-six) in 2023. With the success Allen has had with developing players like Alontae Taylor or getting success out of Jonathan Abrahm, both of which had similar flaws to Hicks coming out, the Wazzou product could be a perfect fit as a box safety to replace Maye’s role on this defense.


Kansas State Tight End, Ben Sinnott; CREDIT: (K-State Athletics)

Instead of going one by one, I will do a list of ones I really like and separate into two tiers of where I think they will go,

Early (Round 4-5)

  • Jermaine Burton: WR, Alabama
  • Justin Eboigbe: DL, Alabama
  • Ben Sinnott: TE, Kansas State
  • Mohammad Kamara: EDGE, Colorado State
  • Malik Washington: WR, UVA

Middle – Late (Round 6-7)

  • Javion Cohen: IOL, Miami
  • Zak Zinter: IOL, Michigan
  • Joe Milton: QB, Tennessee
  • De’Corian Clark: WR, UTSA

Going this far down the board is always a challenge in trying to actually project who will be available, but these nine players all serve as a combination of need/fit in their strengths that tailor to what the Saints are on either side of the ball. Prior to day three come draft weekend, we will revisit this list and evaluate further – but putting this out there hopefully can be an initial reference point for the deep draft board.

There isn’t any doubt that the Saints actual draft board may look entirely different from the 24 prospects listed here, but the important thing is understanding what and why the Saints need players that fit certain needs and athletic profiles. Speed on defense, physicality and size at receiver, agility and quickness on the offensive line are paramount to improving what was the oldest roster in the NFL last year. This is the most crucial draft class for the franchise in the past couple of years, and if they don’t hit on this class – expect more mediocrity and firings in the short term future for the team.

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