New Orleans Saints NFL Draft Odds: D-Line Help A Priority
Adam Thompson | 5 mins
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The New Orleans Saints suffered a third-straight season of downward trajectory in 2021. After going 13-3 in 2019 and 12-4 in 2020, the Saints finished only 9-8 and head coach Sean Payton decided to step away. Last year didn’t get any better, as the team finished 7-10 in Dennis Allen’s first year as Payton's replacement.
Derek Carr has been brought in on a huge deal to help fix an offense that ranked bottom-half in the NFL in scoring and yards gained. New Orleans feels it isn’t far off from turning fortunes around. But it's only picking No. 29 overall after sending its first round pick (No. 10 overall) to the Eagles in last year's deal to help move up in the 2022 NFL Draft to take WR Chris Olave. The Saints have the No. 29 pick courtesy of Denver's deal to bring in coach Payton.
Bookies.com oddsmaker Adam Thompson has used his resources of NFL contacts developed over 20 years covering the league and the NFL Draft to create his hypothetical NFL futures odds on who gets selected 29th by the New Orleans Saints in the 2023 NFL Draft.
New Orleans Saints 1st Round Pick Odds (No. 29)
Who Will The Saints Take In 2023 NFL Draft?
The Saints had a big QB issue going into the offseason, but that was filled by inking the Raiders’ all-time leading passer to a huge four-year, $150 million contract. They also lured in RB Jamaal Williams from the Lions, the NFL’s TD leader in 2022.
That’s very solid insurance for Alvin Kamara, who at best could be suspended and at worst may be in prison for his role in an alleged brawl in Vegas.
Running back isn’t out of the question at No. 29, given Kamara’s status. Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs could be a perfect complement to Williams now and the team's future feature back.
But there are other pressing issues that could be helped at No. 29. The biggest hurdle in projecting who New Orleans selects is figuring out who may actually be available that far into the draft.
The offensive line ranked 29th out of 32 teams by Pro Football Focus in 2022, thanks mainly to mediocre play in the interior. Only one interior lineman is expected to go in the first round, but he might still be around when New Orleans’ name is called.
O’Cyrus Torrence of Florida has the size (6-foot-5, 330 pounds) to impress and in his one season at Florida was a first-team All-American. He’d be a plug-and-play guy for New Orleans.
Defense has been the strong suit of the Saints. They’ve ranked in the top 10 in both points and yards allowed in each of the past three seasons. But edge rushers Marcus Davenport and Kaden Elliss both left via free agency. Team standout Cameron Jordan is still there, but someone needs to take pressure off him.
When it comes to help on the D-line, Nolan Smith of Georgia and Will McDonald IV of Iowa would be immediate helpers. Smith jumped off the charts at the NFL Combine, running an astonishing 4.39 40-yard dash. At 6-foot-2 and 238 pounds, Smith could be a small edge rusher or play at any linebacker spot – another area of need for the Saints.
He could go as high as No. 10 to the Eagles or as low as right here to the Saints. If he falls this far, he won’t go any further.
The same could be said for McDonald, who was a sacks machine for the Cyclones over three seasons. McDonald is explosive and at 6-foot-4, he showcased the athleticism to get around top tackles.
Keion White Odds To Join New Orleans Saints
If the Saints want a true big-man on the edge, Georgia Tech’s Keion White would fit right in, and he’s the most likely of the three candidates to be on the board at No. 29. The 6-5, 285-pound White has projected as someone with a lot of upside thanks to his size, athleticism, attitude and energy.
But his pass rushing technique and success against elite competition was an issue in college. Allen’s background as a defensive coach may lead the Saints to deciding the upside is too good to pass up. And it may pay off handsomely.
The Field is paced by potential options that have about a 50/50 shot to be available at No. 29 but would fill a need. That includes Pittsburgh DL Calijah Kancey and Iowa LB Jack Campbell.
Complete List of Saints 2022 Draft Picks
- Round 1 (Pick 29, from DEN)
- Round 2 (Pick 40)
- Round 3 (Pick 71)
- Round 4 (Pick 115)
- Round 5 (Pick 146)
- Round 5 (Pick 165, from PHI)
- Round 7 (Pick 227)
- Round 7 (Pick 257, compensatory)