The New Orleans Saints should optimize their assets to address key departures in free agency, and they have a lot to work with in their eight picks in the 2021 NFL draft. Despite several obvious holes and positional depth chart concerns, the team’s approach to this draft should remain largely unchanged. The Saints employ a multifaceted strategy of drafting for immediate need and the future, and are not shy to aggressively move up for coveted prospects.
New Orleans has traded up in every draft Sean Payton has conducted since 2007 (also standing pat in 2012 when he was suspended), so it makes sense to expect that trend to continue. They traded up to acquire every player they picked last year after drafting Cesar Ruiz in the first round, so what could an all-trades mock draft look like?
Accordingly, it’s time for an updated Saints mock draft that mirrors a similar approach. To remain somewhat realistic, I simulated a full run on the Draft Network mock draft machine, selecting prospects New Orleans has met with, while trading up for fallen players reminiscent of Erik McCoy and Zack Baun; the website’s A.I. automatically drafts for the 31 teams. Here’s how it went: