This could be Drew Brees’ final season in the NFL, and the pressure is on for New Orleans to send him out with another Super Bowl ring after all the recent heartbreaking playoff exits.
The Saints added key veterans in free agency, signing wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and safety Malcolm Jenkins. The 2020 NFL Draft was one of the last opportunities to add meaningful talent around Brees.
Let’s examine what general manager Mickey Loomis was able to accomplish.
New Orleans' 2020 draft picks:
- No. 24: Cesar Ruiz, OL, Michigan
- No. 74: Zack Baun, EDGE, Wisconsin
- No. 105: Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton
- No. 240: Tommy Stevens, QB, Mississippi State
Best Pick: Zack Baun
The Saints’ entered the draft with a complete roster featuring very little in the way of major concerns. The linebacker was a position that could be upgraded and New Orleans did that by landing Baun.
Baun is a versatile defender that can rush the passer, cover and play downhill against the run. He’s a good athlete and produced 19.5 tackles for loss and 12 1/2 sacks in 2019. The Saints can get creative with his skill set, use him in a variety of ways and allow him to rack up the splash plays. Baun was a steal at No. 74.
Biggest Surprise: Tommy Stevens
After trading its final four draft picks to move up for Trautman at No. 105, the Saints found it necessary to part with a 2021 pick to move back into the draft and select Stevens. Perhaps this is coach Sean Payton’s attempt at finding Taysom Hill 2.0, but Stevens was never a draft pick-worthy player. He couldn’t earn or hold onto a starting role in college so it’s confusing as to why this selection was made, especially when factoring the move back into the draft to make it possible.
Day 3 Sleeper: None
New Orleans made just one pick on Day 3 in the form of Stevens, who is unlikely to ever suit up in an NFL game. If Loomis didn’t believe there were draftable players remaining on his board, credit to him for not picking any who didn’t have a chance to make the roster and wasting development time in an unusual offseason where reps will be at a premium.
X-Factor: Adam Trautman
Trautman played quarterback in high school and never caught a pass prior to college. He left Dayton as the program’s all-time leading wide receiver.
While he has plenty of room to develop, Trautman has exciting ball skills, length, athleticism and toughness that gives him a chance to make an impact as a move tight end. His presence on the roster makes 12 personnel packages more appealing, and he has the potential to be a matchup problem for defenses.
While the Saints didn’t make many picks, they arguably came away with the best interior offensive linemen in the class, an impact hybrid defender and a mismatch weapon on offense which is nothing to be scoffed at. New Orleans is all-in on competing as Brees’ career winds down so a large number of rookie contributions weren’t expected.