John Lepore | April 27th, 2020
The NFL Draft has come and gone. The New Orleans Saints started out with five picks heading into Thursday night. They wound up with four which included trading up to grab two third-round picks after the initial first-rounder. Let’s take a closer look at these four players, who may just make an impact from the start, in the New Orleans Saints draft review.
Make sure to check out all of our other NFL team drafts reviews here.
Round 1, Pick 24 – Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan
To many Saints fans this was a bit of a head-scratcher at first glance. With needs elsewhere on the field, people expected a linebacker, a wide receiver, or even a quarterback to be taken here. Upon further examination though, this was a good pick. Ruiz has the flexibility to play guard as well as center, and both of them well. Larry Warford is on the last year of his contract and may be moved, which would open a spot for either Ruiz or Erik McCoy to slide in at right guard.
Ruiz is a solid 6’3 307 lbs who uses his hands well at the point of attack. He also has the agility and quickness to block well at the second level. He will be a great fit into one of the best offensive lines in football. Even if Warford is moved, the Saints are set in the interior for a few years to come with Andrus Peat, McCoy, and Ruiz.
Round 3, Pick 74 – Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin
The Saints still had a glaring need at linebacker going into round three. They addressed it when they traded the 88th pick along with next year’s third-rounder to the Cleveland Browns for #74 and a seventh-round pick. At 6’2 and 238 lbs, Baun has the athletic ability to move around the field and is adept against the run as well as in pass coverage. He profiles as a much better fit at linebacker than edge rusher at the NFL level. That is where the Saints will have him considering Kiko Alonso, Alex Anzalone, and Demario Davis are all in the final year of their deals. This was a no-brainer for the Saints.
Full Scouting Report here.
Round 3, Pick 105 – Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton
The Saints addressed another need by moving up in the draft. They traded picks #130, 169, 203, and 244 to the Minnesota Vikings in order to draft Trautman. The 6’5 255 pound tight end is a solid target. He has very good hands and uses his body well. The former basketball player faced lesser competition in college, but the Saints are confident his skills can translate into the NFL. He was considered the second-best tight end in the draft after Cole Kmet. With Jared Cook turning 33 and in the last year of his deal, the Saints give Trautman a chance to hone his skills as a big target for Drew Brees.
Round 7, Pick 240 – Tommy Stevens, Offensive Weapon, Mississippi State
After the Trautman pick, the Saints were looking at a Saturday with no picks left. That changed when they traded next year’s sixth-rounder to the Houston Texans for #240. Sean Payton and crew decided on Stevens. He is a Taysom Hill-type player who has played all over the field. The Saints love his athleticism, and at 6’5 and 235 lbs, he could be a force and allows Payton even more offensive creativity.
The Saints had a very good draft as they prioritized quality over quantity. They addressed needs by getting replacements for Cook and Warford. They also took care of the glaring need for a linebacker, and got an absolute steal, by drafting Baun in the third round. The move to get back into the draft and take Stevens was curious but understandable. He is an exceptional athlete and if anyone can put him into a position to succeed, it’s Payton.
Overall Grade: A
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