This is the final phase of my Saints mock draft trilogy. A lot of ongoing reports have pushed prospects one way or another on draft boards. Also, in my Mock Draft 1.0 and Mock Draft 2.0, no trades were involved. After plenty of days in quarantine scouring the Internet for research, a couple of players stood out to make a trade for.
The first player—Henry Ruggs III makes an exciting choice to team up with Michael Thomas. Ruggs definitely is a first-round pick somewhere in the middle part of the first round. The only problem is, the New Orleans Saints would have to move up at least eight spots or more to steal him. And this could happen. Make no mistake, the Saints aren’t afraid to make a bold move on draft day. We’ve all seen it before. Some proved brilliant, and others are still in the waiting period. Regardless, the option remains. Still, in my opinion, the best solution is to stay put at pick 24. There is another player who has borderline late first-round potential.
It’s more likely this player can land in New Orleans without compensation in the form of draft picks or a player. Furthermore, there is another defensive player worth trading up, to get in the third or fourth round. Ultimately, there are a couple of scenarios where the Saints could double-dip at one position. Last year, the Saints picked two safeties so it’s not improbable. So ladies and gentlemen here is my final Mock Draft 3.0.
Mock Draft 3.0 for the New Orleans Saints
First Saints Mock Draft Pick: Linebacker Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma [NFL Draft Profile]
The Saints need guys on defense to make plays in the clutch. Too many times, the defense wears down late in the game. One yard could be the difference between winning and losing. For this reason, linebacker Kenneth Murray is the bank pick. In other words, “Take it to the Bank.” He’s a mountain of a man at 6-foot-2, 245 lbs. and speed moving east to west quickly.
He moves just like a safety instead of a linebacker. Racking up tackles constantly, Murray loves to grab ball carriers behind the line. He had over 15 tackles for losses over the last couple years. He’s a Ferrari moving from 0 to 60 mph in an instant. The only knock is his over aggressiveness which Saints fans will die for.
Trade with the Las Vegas Raiders to gather an additional pick in the third round at pick 80. This gives the Saints two picks in the third round. The Saints give Vegas an additional pick in 2021.
Third Round Pick: Linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaithers, Appalachian State [NFL Draft Profile]
Akeem Davis-Gaithers is what you call an overachiever. He was only a two-star recruit coming out of high school at 170 pounds. Not many teams looked his way to be a linebacker from Thomasville, North Carolina. He was mentored by former Green Bay Packers player D.J. Smith who coincidentally played for Appalachian State too.
”Smith really instilled that confidence in me and showed that if I work every day, the results were going to pay of.” Gaithers said.
By the NFL Combine, Gaithers weighed 224 pounds and became one of the top linebacker prospects in the country. He made 104 tackles, 14.5 for a loss, and five sacks. He even blocked a field goal. “I wanted to show guys that size didn’t matter to me. Hit guys in the mouth. Just play really hard. Just really be like a lion out of the cage on game day.”
Gaithers is to be reckoned with. Worth every penny to trade up to get him.
Third Round Pick: Cornerback Bryce Hall, Virginia [NFL Draft Profile]
Bryce Hall has been slated here in every mock in my series. Nothing changes here.
Fourth Round Pick: Wide Receiver Collin Johnson, Texas [NFL Draft Profile]
Now this pick is about size matters. Collin Johnson is basketball size at 6-foot-6 222 lbs. with a long frame. The football gene is in his bloodline as his father played in the NFL for 10 years. Moreover, he happened to be an All-American at Texas too. Johnson doesn’t have the flash speed compared to others, but his size works to his advantage. He caught 38 passes for 559 yards with a gaudy 14.7 yard per catch and three touchdowns.
It would’ve been more if it wasn’t for a lingering hamstring injury that slowed his production. Those numbers were for seven games only. He’s a go getter. The ball is in the air, he goes and gets it. Solid value pick here in the fourth.
Fifth Round Pick: Tight End Thaddeus Moss, LSU [NFL Draft Profile]
Same as Mock Draft 2.0 except this time the Saints wait till the fifth round to pick him. Hopefully…
Last Saints Mock Draft Pick: Quarterback Jake Luton, Oregon [NFL Draft Profile]
Jake Luton is a quality quarterback deserving of being drafted. The name may not be familiar but the statistics do not lie. In 2019, Luton threw for 28 touchdowns against only three interceptions for 2,714 yards. Those are not misprints, yet the experts have him either going late or being a free agent. He’s plenty tall at 6-foot-6 and weighing a lean 224 lbs. The fact is, he’s got the arm to make it on the next level. Luton can spin it on an intermediate route to deep passes. And he’s dead-on accurate. As a matter of fact, in the last two years, seven interceptions were thrown. That’s keeping the ball secure.
The knock on Luton is the lack of viewing the whole field. In other words, the tendency is to focus on one receiver versus going through his progressions. Also, he needs to work on his footwork. He can be a little unsteady in the pocket under pressure. That being said, for a guy sitting this late in the draft doesn’t make much sense. The Saints have to get a third quarterback. Nothing wrong with letting him learn from the best.
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