By drafting highly graded prospects that addressed needs at wide receiver and left tackle, the New Orleans Saints struck a great balance in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft. Head coach Dennis Allen likely smartly anticipated the immediate run on receivers; the trade up to No. 11 looks strong in retrospect. And if Ohio State’s Chris Olave was the coveted target, then you make the move to ensure you get him. Allen’s comments on Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning that touted his aggressive nature bolstered the idea that – while still a need-based pick – the prospect had the right traits.
While it didn’t take too much capital, the decision to trade up for Washington’s pick exchanged the Saints’ only third and fourth round picks. That’s slightly harder to swallow when you consider how much this team builds through Rounds 2, 3, and 4 – and how much they trade up to do so. The players they’ve traded up for in those rounds include the following: Paulson Adebo, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Trey Hendrickson, Alvin Kamara, Vonn Bell, David Onyemata, and P.J. Williams. Having only one pick before Round 5 (at No. 49) doesn’t allow for much movement in the second round.
That said, the top two team needs were addressed with great prospects; there’s just as valid an argument for quality over quantity. Accordingly, that same philosophy – barring any magic trick trades – should carry over to their pick tonight at No. 49. And given the team has leaned in to addressing positions of need, the next position to turn to is safety. I’ve certainly done an exhaustive survey of several prospects at the role. I look at draft tendencies that can be highly predictive: a top one being which conferences their picks come from. Let’s see how that trend could play into their potential selections at safety in Round 2.