Welcome back to our countdown to the NFL Draft, where we are analyzing the potential first round picks of each team. This time around, we are covering the Saints and the Cardinals.
New Orleans Saints
1st Round Picks: #11, #32
The Saints feel like a team that is running out of time. Sean Payton seems to have had a foot out the door for a while now with the team reportedly attempting to trade him on multiple occasions. Drew Brees is 39 years old and likely looking to ride off into retirement soon. The Saints are just getting over the major spending spree they went on a few years back and now may only have a season or two left before it is time to rebuild. The hope for New Orleans is to find quality players that will make an immediate impact while also planning for the future. A daunting task.
Pick #11: LB Reuben Foster (Alabama)
There have been a lot of questions surrounding Foster. After being dismissed from the Scouting Combine, the Alabama product has been under fire for his professionalism, while reportedly adding to the concerns of his injury history. Combine incident aside (for which he apologized and took full responsibility for), Reuben Foster is an elite play-maker with the capacity for truly spectacular hits. He is a top-5 talent who is likely to slide due to the previous issues, and the Saints would be smart to snatch him up to round out their linebacking core.
Pick #32: QB DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame)
As stated before, Drew Brees is 39 year-old and his time as a top caliber QB is nearing an end. The Saints would be wise to look for his potential successor, and with an extra 1st-round pick from the Patriots, the Saints can do just that. While none of the QB draft prospects have Day-1 starter potential, a few have future starter potential. For the Saints, Kizer seems like the pick for them. He has excellent mobility and arm strength. He needs some polish to his accuracy and decision-making, but a year or two behind a future Hall of Famer will help him gain the knowledge he will need.
1st Round Picks: #13
To say the Cardinals lost a lot in free agency would be an understatement. DE Calais Campbell, S Tony Jefferson, S D.J. Swearinger, CB Marcus Cooper, and LB Kevin Minter all left Arizona this off-season, leaving a great deal of holes in their defense. They filled these holes will solid veterans in LB Karlos Dansby and S Antoine Bethea, but you can’t help but think that the Cardinals are moving in the wrong direction in terms of age. Add in a 38 year-old Carson Palmer and 33 year-old Larry Fitzgerald, and a team that was a major up-and-comer is now a team on the cusp of rebuilding. The Cardinals need youthful talent and quickly.
Pick #13: WR John Ross (Washington)
This guy is already blazing an impressive trail. He set the record for fastest 40-yard dash and continues to impress with his ability to locate the ball from anywhere on the field. Ross is a highlight waiting to happen, whether on offense or special teams. Placing him opposite veteran Larry Fitzgerald will allow him to grow as a a player and takeover as WR1 when Fitzgerald decides to hang up his gloves. The depth at LB in this draft and top name QBs likely available in round 2 allow the Cardinals to add one of the most explosive weapons in this years draft.
And those are my picks. For previous analysis, click the link below:
Browns & 49ers – here
Bears & Jaguars – here
Titans & Jets – here
Chargers & Panthers – here
Bills & Bengals – here
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