Saints didn't have a ton of capital, and they traded up -- ensuring they wouldn't have great capital in 2020 as well. It's tough for me to swallow that pill, but once I swallow it, I absolutely love this class.
The Round 1 selection was gone as part of the Marcus Davenport package; the Round 3 pick, in the acquisition of Teddy Bridgewater -- but with limited capital, the Saints still drafted two Top-30 players and bonafide starters on my board, in iOL1 Erik McCoy and SAF1 Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.
The late-round fliers? I didn't mind the pick at the worst and loved it at the most. You won't hear any complains from me on this class, in terms of the players acquired at value.
Round 2, Pick 48: Erik McCoy, iOL, Texas A&M
Round 4, Pick 105: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida
Round 6, Pick 177: Saquon Hampton, S, Rutgers
Round 7, Pick 231: Alize Mack, TE, Notre Dame
Round 7, Pick 244: Kaden Elliss, LB, Idaho
As such, it isn't an easy task, figuring out who to take the mulligan on. Hampton is an interesting player, but I don't see him as addressing a huge need for the Saints -- they already got their nickel safety in CGJ a couple rounds earlier -- so I'll likely move on from him.
But that begs the question: where did the Saints have a bigger need on the roster, over depth at safety? Their starters are essentially locked in by this point of the draft, and given that they'll later grab a TE2, it's tough to imagine drafting anyone who will take significant snaps in 2019.
This roster is deep, good, and importantly, proven: they were just that one play away from a Super Bowl bid, as I'm sure the bayou well remembers.
As such, I have to look for a 2020 contributor, but again, there aren't many glaring spots. Big players on contract years include Andrus Peat, Michael Thomas, and Vonn Bell -- but the departure of Bell is prepared for, Thomas isn't going anywhere, and McCoy's introduction to the interior could have ripple effects we can't yet prepare for.
Two CBs enter free agency in PJ Williams and Ken Crawley, but the big starters in Eli Apple and Marshon Lattimore are locked in -- and Patrick Robinson should return from injury for this season anyway.
There's one spot that does glare, in terms of 2020 need: and that's quarterback.
My New Orleans Saints Draft Mulligan: S Saquon Hampton for QB [insert name here]
Drew Brees and backup/development player Teddy Bridgewater are both entering contract years, and in 2020, it is unlikely but possible that neither returns to New Orleans.
For as long as Brees is effective, he'll remain the starter -- and if he remains and gets an extension, you can bet your bottom that Bridgewater will leave in free agency for an opportunity to start somewhere.
If Brees dramatically tails off, and I mean dramatically, the Saints will likely throw money at Bridgewater to keep him in the building and transition him to starter. Of course, there could be more than one team throwing money at Teddy -- or perhaps he's moved in-season when the Saints, who are strapped for draft capital, get an offer they can't refuse.
What if Brees wants to retire? What if Bridgewater gets injured again in camp and hangs up the cleats? There's just a lot of uncertainty in the 3-year outlook at QB for the Saints.
As such, I'm always a proponent of snagging the late-round QB and seeing if you can make a decent backup out of him -- if not for stability moving forward, then for the trade piece in a few years. For the Saints, a 2019 rookie could be competing for a significant roster spot in 2020 or 2021.
At this juncture of the draft, there aren't too many exciting names left at QB, of course: Gardner Minshew is about to go one pick after Hampton to the Jaguars; a bit later, Trace McSorley goes to Baltimore; cult favorites like Brett Rypien and Jordan Ta'amu would go undrafted to Denver and Oakland, respectively.
I think Minshew would have made a fair bit of success given Brees' play style and Sean Payton's system, so that's my QB3 du jour. But you can feel free to pick your preferred poison of the available passers, to stash on the practice squad, develop behind Brees/Bridgewater, and serve as an insurance policy as you stare down the barrel of some critical contract decisions.