The NFL Draft is still months away, but that shouldn’t stop Saints fans from looking at every possible mock draft in the lead-up to the big event. After missing out on the playoffs for the third consecutive season, New Orleans desperately needs to make the right decisions over the next few months if head coach Dennis Allen wants to keep his job.
The Saints spent big last year on quarterback Derek Carr, and the team cannot afford to release him. For better or worse, he will be under center next year, and given Allen’s uncertain job status, New Orleans probably won’t use an early pick on a quarterback who can’t help them until 2025. With this in mind, it makes sense for the Saints to build around Carr, and that’s exactly what happens in Cynthia Frelund’s mock draft.
According to NFL Network analyst’s analytics-based mock draft process, the New Orleans Saints will select LSU wide receiver Brian Thomas with the 14th-overall pick. It’s worth noting that Frelund’s mocks were remarkably accurate last year, so Thomas is a player Saints fans should keep an eye on.
Saints Select WR Brian Thomas In Latest Mock Draft
Brian Thomas the Player
Before we talk about how Brian Thomas might fit with the Saints in this mock draft, we first need to discuss his talent. The LSU product is a versatile weapon with the ability to make plays in both the slot and out wide. While the NFL Combine has yet to occur, the film shows that Thomas possesses great deep speed with the ability to blow past a defense with ease.
Not only can Thomas stretch the field, but he can adjust to inaccurate passes. He tracks the ball well in the air and can come back or speed up as required to get under the football. He used this ability frequently to lead the FBS with 17 receiving touchdowns.
The biggest flaw with Brian Thomas is his lack of muscle at the catch point. Despite his 6′-4″, 205-pound build, the Saints mock draft selection struggles to win contested passes. In many ways, he’s either open by two steps or not at all. If this sounds familiar to you, it’s because his play style is similar to that of former Saints first-round pick Brandin Cooks.
Does This Saints Mock Draft Make Sense?
Brian Thomas is not as good as guys like Marvin Harrison or Malik Nabers, but he is a smart selection in the middle of the first round. If this Saints mock draft prediction comes true, then the team will land a player who can immediately help this offense realize its full potential.
Derek Carr is heavily reliant on his supporting cast, so the Saints should invest in someone who can bring out the best in him. Carr has a strong arm, but he’s not the type of quarterback who can throw guys open. He needs to see it before he releases the ball, and Thomas’ ability to get open right off the line should match well with Carr’s style of play.
Additionally, Carr struggles in the red zone, so it makes sense for the Saints mock draft to target someone who can routinely score from long distances. Thomas isn’t going to outmuscle too many receivers, but that won’t matter when Carr avoids those types of throws in the first place. If Brian Thomas can score on 30- and 40-yard passing plays, then New Orleans can also minimize Carr’s biggest weakness.
Main Photo: Nathan Ray Seebeck – USA Today Sports