The dawn of a new era is upon the New Orleans Saints. Long-time starting quarterback Drew Brees has retired, leaving a big hole at the quarterback position that will be filled by Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill. However, that isn’t the only hole on the roster. Plenty of things will need to be done in the 2021 NFL Draft.
New Orleans came into the offseason in cap hell. They had had numerous cap casualties, as they were more than $84 million over the salary cap. There weren’t many teams hit as hard as the Saints by the league’s salary cap lowering. New Orleans has had to get creative when it came to getting under the cap.
Multiple players restructured their contracts to help alleviate their cap numbers in 2021. Talented players had to be released or were unable to be re-signed because they could not afford it. Luckily for New Orleans, they do have their first-round pick in this year’s draft.
Despite the mass exodus that has occurred this offseason, there is still some good talent on this roster. They will still be competitive, and a move to the big-armed Winston could breathe some air into this offense.
Which players could the Saints target in the draft? Here are three prospects that would be a perfect fit at No. 28 for New Orleans.
3. CB Greg Newsome II, Northwestern
The Saints have a top-of-the-line cornerback in Marshon Lattimore, but their depth was decimated this offseason. Janoris Jenkins was a cap casualty and Patrick Robinson could be on the same path as well if New Orleans needs more cap space.
If both of them are gone, cornerback could become a sneaky need for New Orleans. While they may not use another first-round NFL Draft pick on the position, if someone like Greg Newsome II is available, they could consider it.
Newsome is a shutdown corner that could turn into Lattimore’s running mate for the future. Given the state of the team, no position should be ruled out for New Orleans, who should be taking the best player available approach.
2. LB Nick Bolton, Missouri
Just like cornerback, the linebacker position saw a lot of turnover this offseason. Alex Anzalone and Kwon Alexander are both gone, leaving two starting spots open at the second level of the Saints’ defense alongside Demario Davis.
If New Orleans wants to replace some of that depth with a long-term option, Nick Bolton would fit the bill. Bolton is great defending the run but can also get it done in coverage as a zone defender. He still has room to develop in space and as a decision-maker, but his arrow is pointing upward.
As the leader for Missouri’s defense, Bolton racked up 95 total tackles, 8.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks. He also had five passes defended and one fumble recovery.
1. WR Kadarius Toney, Florida
When Michael Thomas sits atop your depth chart, a wide receiver usually isn’t at the top of the list of positions of need. But, the Saints desperate for another playmaker on this offense.
Emmanuel Sanders was a cap casualty and Jared Cook left in free agency. With no cash to spend, the Saints were unable to get in on the wide receiver market, but they can add a legitimate weapon to their offense with Kadarius Toney out of Florida in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Toney would bring explosiveness and athleticism to a Saints’ wide receiver group that sometimes leaves something to be desired behind Thomas. His versatility would give Sean Payton yet another weapon to play with, as Toney is dangerous out of the slot, backfield or split out wide.
Given how creative Payton is, there is no doubt he would be able to scheme Toney into open space to terrorize defenses. Lining him up alongside Alvin Kamara and Thomas would give opposing defensive coordinators nightmares trying to figure out how to stop them.