Finally, the New Orleans Saints have caught their white whale. The NFL announced its list of 2021 compensatory draft picks on Wednesday, including the first comp picks the Saints will have received in the Sean Payton era. New Orleans’ typically-aggressive approach to free agency has kept them from elbowing into the comp pick formula since Payton was hired as head coach, but a more tempered strategy in 2020 has paid off.
Teddy Bridgewater left the Saints last summer for a big contract with the Carolina Panthers, which qualified for a third-round pick in this year’s draft (98 overall). The Saints also benefited from the league’s new minority hiring incentives policy, which rewards them for developing Terry Fontenot into the eventual Atlanta Falcons general manager by bring a pair of third rounders to New Orleans in 2021 (105 overall) and 2022 (to be determined). Additionally, the Saints received another comp pick for losing A.J. Klein to the Buffalo Bills — a sixth rounder (217 overall).
They need the help. The Saints were without a third round pick after trading it last year to help acquire Zack Baun. Their fifth rounder is expected to convey in the trade for Kwon Alexander, while their sixth round pick was traded to land Tommy Stevens. And the NFL forced New Orleans to forfeit its seventh rounder due to COVID-19 protocol violations. Getting these additional at-bat opportunities is key for bringing in more young talent on affordable rookie contracts.
Here’s the current slate of Saints draft picks in 2021:
- Round 1, Pick 28
- Round 2, Pick 60
- Round 3, Pick 98 (compensatory)
- Round 3, Pick 105 (compensatory)
- Round 4, Pick 135
- Round 6, Pick 217 (compensatory)