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DraftNerds – 2024 New Orleans Saints Mock Draft

The Saints fell below expectations in 2023. Hopefully, this 2024 mock draft can help them get back on track.

The New Orleans Saints did not have the season they wanted, as they finished second in a poor division. The Saints offense dealt with plenty of injuries in 2023. Newcomer Derek Carr would be banged up for most of the season despite playing 17 games. Carr would be decent for most of the season but not great for fantasy. He would miss many of his weapons throughout the season.

Star receiver Chris Olave was banged up and missed a few games. Old man Michael Thomas would again have a season-ending injury. Their third receiver, Rashid Shaheed, would also miss time and is a restricted free agent. There was a rotation of tight ends, with 34-year-old Taysom Hill being the bright spot for a small portion of the season. Despite all these issues, the passing game still ranked in the top 12. The Saints are also potentially losing G Andrus Peat and RT James Hurst.

We could see a change for the run game as Alvin Kamara has an OUT in his contract this offseason. It would be a steep dead cap, but they must find ways to get under it. Kamara is 29 years old and is coming off his worst season since his rookie year. The team also signed Jamaal Williams, a bust signing they could dump if they wanted to. He was not efficient at all last year. Kendre Miller was a rookie they drafted last offseason who flashed in a small portion of the passing game. The run game was the bottom half of the league in 2023.

For the defense, they were a solid unit all season. They were plus 12 in turnover difference. They were tied for second with interceptions with 18. They were a good secondary in 2023, ranking inside the top 12. Their run defense, however, was ranked in the top 15 in 2023. There are rumors that Mashawn Lattimore could be traded this offseason, but they also have free agent Isaac Yiadom, who stepped up in 2023. Other defensive players that could be gone are LB Zack Baun and Malcolm Roach.

1.14 J.C Latham OT, Alabama

It will be huge for the Saints if the team loses Andre Peat this offseason. The Saints need to improve on the offensive line to give Carr more time and to help improve the run game. The Saints made a pick in the trenches and selected Latham from Alabama. He is a big left tackle who has long arms and light feet. He was dominant last season but not allowing a sack all season. Latham is still young; he is only 21 years old in his rookie season. He would be a pivotal addition to a team that believes they can win the NFC South in 2024. Latham has the tools and skills to be a future all-pro player in the NFL. The Saints need to get young on the offensive line and retool this offense.

2.45 Edgerrin Cooper LB, Texas A&M

The Saints were among the worst teams in getting quarterback sacks in 2023. They had 31 last season, which was bottom five in the league. Cooper was a three-year starter and improved each season, with his junior year being a breakout season. He would have 17 tackles for loss and eight sacks. Saints LB Demario Davis led the team in tackles last season, but he will be 35 in 2023. It’s time for the Saints to get young at the position. The Saints will fall in love with Cooper’s speed to drop back in coverage. He also can use that speed to build on being a more established pass rusher. He can be used all over the defense due to his versatility. Cooper would be another smart pick in this 2024 draft.

5.148 Brenden Rice WR, USC

The first time that the Saints take a player that fantasy owners may like is in round four. Thomas could be on his way out, and Shaheed may be back. The Saints lack the Thomas player, who was a reliable option on the offense. The Saints select Rice (son of HOF receiver Jerry Rice) from USC. He didn’t blow up the stats sheet with only 791 receiving yards but had 12 touchdowns. Rice has the size and athleticism to play the X receiver or even be the slot. He is quick off the LOS and has a nose for the endzone. The Saints settled for more field goals than touchdowns last season. They would be getting a play who can be a threat in situations that they struggled in 2023. He needs to be more physical but could be able to help this Saints offense.

5.166 Mohamed Kamara EDGE, Colorado State

The Saints bring in another Kamara, but Mohamed Kamara is unrelated to star running back Alvin Kamara. As I mentioned with Cooper, the Saints need to get more pressure on quarterbacks. Over his last two seasons at Colorado State, Kamara had 33 tackles for loss and 21.5 sacks. That is the type of player the Saints need to get on their defensive line. Kamara has a long frame with some explosion and power to his game. He has enough speed to chase down running backs or mobile quarterbacks. Kamara is likely best for a 4-3 defense, but if he can build himself up, he may be able to play in either 4-3 or 3-4. Long-time Saints, Cameron Jordan is getting up there in age. Kamara could learn behind Jordan and eventually be a full-time starter.

5.168 Jaylin Simpson CB, Auburn

The Saints’ secondary could be going through a change in 2024. As mentioned above, Lattimore could be traded, and they could lose Isaac Yiadom due to free agency. The Saints were one of the best teams at picking the ball off. It is time to re-roll this position with a player like Simpson. In three years as a starter for Auburn, he had seven picks, with one getting returned for a touchdown. Simpson is a versatile player who can play all over the secondary, which would be great depending on how the Saints offseason goes. He does well reading quarterbacks and makes big hits on receivers. He is a gambler and very physical, so giving up big plays happens, and he has drawn a good number of flags in his time in college. Simpson could be coached to be a strong player to help that secondary.

5.173 Beauz Limmer, IOL, Arkansas

The Saints need to rebuild that depth in the offensive line. Limmer is a riskier pick since his pass protection needs some work despite him being physically gifted. He did give up some sacks in college the last few seasons. He has excellent footwork and would be a great addition to the run offense. Last year, the run offense was not that good. Limmer will attack the edge and get upfield to help his backfield. Limmer in this Saints offense can help with some of his college mistakes to be a solid rotational player.

6. 191 Isaiah Davis RB South Dakota State

The Saints selected Davis in round six to provide RB depth. I think Jamaal Williams is gone after a poor season, and Kamara could be cut somehow to save the Saints money. While Miller showed a few flashes, giving him the keys to the driver’s seat is concerning. The Saints have always been a team that had a thunder-and-lighting backfield, especially during most of Kamara’s time in New Orleans. Davis is a 6’1″, 220 lb. running back who dominated at South Dakota State. He had over 1,400 yards and 15 touchdowns in back-to-back seasons. Davis can be a great early-down running back with untapped potential as a pass catcher. One of his glaring issues is pass blocking, and he is more of a downhill runner with only a few moves to his game.

7. 200 Jalyx Hunt, EDGE, Houston Baptist

The Saint’s first pick in the seventh round is Hunt, an edge rusher from Houston Baptist. The Saints need to find some diamond in the rough type of edge rushers to fill out a roster that is way over the salary cap. Hunt was a machine the last two seasons with 133 tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss, and 13.5 sacks. The Saints need to get some players to attack the quarterback, and Hunt can do that. He will be a project for the Saints, but if coached up correctly, he could be a valuable pass rusher for the team’s future.

7.229 AJ Berner: TE, Michigan

After three years at Indiana, Berner transferred to Michigan and had the best receiving season of his career. He finished 2023 with 249 receiving yards and a touchdown. Berner is an elite blocker who will come in handy for a team that needs to improve their blocking. He has great potential, but there are limits to what he can do. He is the type of hardworking player that the Saints need. The tight end room may be going through some changes due to the cap situation that they are in. In 2024, they currently have $26 million expensed to the position. That will likely change, which is the need to get a cheap player like Berner on the team.

Fantasy Impact

Not many fantasy-relevant players will be drafted on the offensive side of the ball. Rice could impact the Saints early, depending on how their receiver group looks by the draft. He would likely only be a borderline third-round pick in rookie drafts. If he lands here, I don’t see a breakout rookie season in his future. Davis would likely be a late fourth pick for rookie drafts. Davis may be a sleeper-type rookie if the team decides to move on from their veteran running backs. Berner, even in TE premium drafts, would not be drafted.

On the defensive side of the ball, Cooper would have a chance to start day one for the Saints. He would be a solid round-two player in rookie drafts to take. Kamara and Hunt would be late-round picks that you stash on your taxi squad and see if they can develop into consistent pass rushers to get sacks. They would be on rotation on that Saints’ defensive line. Simpson would be a solid third-round pick. He could quickly start day one at the Saints nickel position or more around where there is a need. He has upside in IDP leagues with tackles and interceptions.

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One Response

  1. “Their third receiver, Rashid Shaheed, would also miss half the season…” Actually, he only missed week 13 & 14 in 2023. “Half the season” is a bit of an over exaggeration.

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