It’s New Orleans Saints mock draft time! Dynasty fantasy football is a year-round affair. A sharp manager will be thinking about all aspects of the dynasty season. Those managers keen enough to look ahead will be the ones that can grab themselves an edge over the competition. Managers will spend much of the dynasty off-season discussing incoming rookies and the related topic, the NFL draft. It is easy for us to fall in love with the next workhorse running back or prototypical alpha wide receiver, but a manager in tune with the entire draft class will find themselves ahead of the game. Whether it is the next road-paving interior offensive lineman or genetic freak edge rusher, we can find ourselves at quite the advantage come April by building an entire picture of how the 2023 class will play out.
Credit for the mock draft simulation goes to ProFootballFocus. The team needs have come from this site. Compensatory picks have not been assigned and will not be in this exercise.
2022 Season Recap
The New Orleans Saints continue to try to find themselves in the post-Drew Bress/Sean Payton era. 2021 was the first season without Brees, and last year was the first without Payton. A 7-10 record was a far cry from the playoff consistency that Saints fans have been used to throughout the 2010s. This team continues to search for its next franchise quarterback. In the meantime, many contributors to previous playoff runs are beginning to age out of the league. Or even worse, becoming too expensive for the Saints’ always-stretched salary cap.
2023 Free Agent Departures
The Saints have several vital contributors hitting free agency this offseason. These departures include three starters along the defensive line. David Onyemata, Marcus Davenport, and Shy Tuttle will be free agents this spring unless Mikey Loomis can find a way to re-sign these players. There will need to be a lot of juggling of money because the projected contracts of these players are more than New Orleans has at the moment.
Things could be much better on the offensive side of the ball. The wide receiver room and running back room will be gutted this off-season. Jarvis Landry, Marquez Callaway, Juwan Johnson, and Deonte Harty are all slated to hit free agency. In addition, Michael Thomas’ contract can be moved off the books. A post-June 1st cut for Thomas could net the Saints an additional $1.5 million in cap space this year. For running backs, Mark Ingram and David Johnson are hitting free agency. Both players will be over the age of 32 before the season starts. Alvin Kamara is also a potential cut candidate. His expensive contract and worsening off-the-field issues could make him a free agent this spring. There is a lot of dynasty value found on this roster this off-season.
1.29 – O’Cyrus Torrence, G Florida
Thanks to “trading” Sean Payton to the Denver Broncos, the New Orleans Saints are back in the first round of the 2023 NFL draft. As luck would have it, one of the top interior offensive linemen in this class falls to the Saints at 29. Torrence is 6’5″ and 347 pounds, one of the bigger prospects in the 2023 draft class. He was a three-year starter at Louisiana-Lafayette before following head coach Bill Napier to Florida for his senior year.
There was no decline in his production once he transferred to the SEC. NFL teams will love to see this, as the SEC is considered the peak of defensive talent at the college level. Torrence will slot in as a day-one starter along the offensive interior. This projection is perfect, as the interior of the offensive line needs the most work. Ramccyzk and Penning are solid starters at tackle; the team must find difference-makers at guard and center.
2.40 – Jahmyr Gibbs, RB Alabama
Things are trending in the wrong direction for Alvin Kamara this year. There are already rumblings that the team is unhappy with how his contract affects the books. His off-the-field issues are also going downhill. He was involved in an assault last year during Pro Bowl weekend in Vegas. That case finally hits the courts, and he could face jail time or a suspension. A release may be the best thing for New Orleans.
Luckily enough for the Saints, a Kamara clone is in this year’s draft class. Gibbs is an electric playmaker familiar to Kamara in his receiving skill set. He played for two years at Georgia Tech before transferring to Alabama. It is not very often we see players transferring to Alabama after their sophomore season. Gibbs did not only that, but he was also an early declaration for the NFL draft. His prospect profile is one of the best in the class.
3.71 – Deonte Banks, CB Maryland
The Saints use their last pick on day two of the NFL draft to address the defense. Banks is a big physical corner from the University of Maryland. Coming in at 6’2″ and 205 pounds, he has the size necessary to play press-man coverage with some of the elite X receivers around the league. He also has the mobility and athleticism to quickly recover when playing off coverage. New Orleans is losing many defensive starters to free agency and must begin retooling in the draft this year.
4.115 – Marvin Mims, WR Oklahoma
The wide receiver room in New Orleans is in dire need of a rework. They have found their future stud in Chris Olave, and now it is just about placing complimentary pieces around him. Mims is a junior from the University of Oklahoma. In college, he played with both Spencer Rattler and Caleb Williams as his quarterbacks. What may be the most impressive part of his resume is that his most successful year came with Dillon Gabriel, who may have been the least talented of those three.
Mims is a highly talented receiver who is an every-play vertical threat. He has good hands and consistently makes plays on the ball. Marvin is on the smaller side, but to be fair, this entire 2023 draft class is full of smaller receivers. He doesn’t profile as an alpha but would make a great running mate with Chris Olave for the next few years.
5.148 – Jarrett Patterson, G Notre Dame
Our offensive run continues as the Saints say they must build along the trenches. Patterson was a four-year starter at Notre Dame. He spent three seasons as the starting center before switching to left guard in 2022. Throughout his over 1,400 snaps as a starter, he allowed zero sacks. That is an awe-inspiring feat. Patterson would come in to compete as a day-one starter along the Saints’ offensive line and has the versatility to play either center or guard.
5.167 – Ivan Pace Jr, LB Cincinnati
Pace is one of the most athletic linebackers in this draft class, and the combine will only further solidify that status. He uses this athleticism to make plays all over the middle of the field and has no issue beating backs to the edge in wide-zone running schemes. He was also the main signal caller for the Bearcats; a position often referred to as the “green dot” at the NFL level. Despite being a fifth-round pick, I would expect Pace to make an immediate impact for the New Orleans Saints.
7.229 – Jalen Wayne, WR South Alabama
Depth is needed at the wide receiver position in New Orleans, so a shot on-one in the seventh round is entirely justified. Wayne was an extremely productive college player at the University of South Alabama. He set the single-season record for receiving touchdowns at the school. He is lucky enough to be a tall player in a very short wide receiver group; Wayne comes in at 6’2″ and 207 pounds.
Wayne may initially be a special teams contributor, but that is perfectly fine for a seventh-round investment. Given time to work on his route running, he could eventually contribute as a rotational piece for the Saints’ wide receiver group. He may have a capped ceiling, but most teams seek depth/special teams’ help in the draft’s final round.
7.260 – Tyson Bagent, QB Shepherd
The New Orleans Saints address the quarterback position with their final pick in the 2023 NFL draft. Bagent comes from Shepherd, which is a small D2 school. He was impressive enough throughout college to receive an invite to the Senior Bowl. This invitation is something that rarely happens for D2 football players. Bagent has a large frame and a big arm to go with it. He profiles as a developmental backup at the next level.
As it stands, many questions surround the Saints’ quarterback position. There are rumors that Derek Carr might be brought in as a starter. Currently, Jameis Winston is set up for that role. This seventh-round investment can provide them with a cheap backup option for a few years. Bagent could compete with Jake Luton this summer for the backup job. This year, he would be a great pick in the final round of rookie Superflex drafts.
2023 Fantasy Outlook
Despite completing a seven-round mock draft, it is hard to judge the fantasy effectiveness of this offense. There is still a question mark surrounding the quarterback position, and that will be the biggest domino to fall this offseason for the New Orleans Saints. Until then, we can only project what we think will happen in New Orleans.
There is one thing for sure: Gibbs’s value will skyrocket with this landing spot. With he is no Kamara, Gibbs will be the most talented running back on the roster and be given all the work he can handle. He is exceptionally gifted as a pass-catcher and will easily land as the RB2 in this draft class. I would even say he would be a top-ten dynasty running back the second this pick was announced.
It is easier to assess the fantasy value of the wide receivers in this draft class with a quarterback. Mims would be a starting receiver in three-receiver sets on this roster. That would make him an easy selection in round two of dynasty rookie drafts. Depending on how deep your league goes, Wayne should be selected in the later rounds of a rookie draft, round four or five.
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I hope you enjoyed this piece in our Offseason Primer series. Be sure to check back often, as I will cover all fantasy-relevant positions. For more content like this, follow me on Twitter @DanT_NFL. DMs are always open for questions, comments, or craft beer recommendations!