The Las Vegas Raiders beat the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday night to close out the 2021 NFL regular season, turning a lot of eyes towards the future — starting with the 2022 NFL draft. And for New Orleans Saints fans, the final results mean the Saints will be scheduled to make their first pick at 18th overall, with Los Angeles and the Indianapolis Colts sliding in ahead of them once the AFC playoff bracket was finalized.
That’s not a bad spot to be in. Obviously missing the playoffs hurts, but finishing the season with a winning record and still drafting inside the top-20 is a nice deal. Picking at 18th overall isn’t a bad beat. The last ten players picked at that slot have earned 11 combined Pro Bowl appearances. In a draft like this one with little agreement in the top tier of talent, the Saints could be in a position to snag someone they rate very highly.
Of course the Saints may not just sit and wait if they’re all in on a prospect. They’ve traded up often throughout Sean Payton’s tenure and we should anticipate more aggression moving forwards. That’s just how they’ve conducted business over, well, almost two decades. But even with patterns to refer back to, sometimes it feels like the only constant we can expect is chaos.