Open Rants by kkunert327

2020 Draft Grade: New Orleans Saints
Published at 5/1/2020
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With the draft in the books time to go back and do a wrap up of how teams made out. I might be a bit of a harsh critic to the top 3 round picks, but that is where you need to hit in the draft to be successful. Sure most of the league is 4th rounders and later, but any that turn into Pro Bowlers or All-Pro players is mostly out of luck. So without further adieu, let's march on in with the New Orleans Saints. 

1 (24) - Cesar Ruiz C Michigan - B+

3 (10) - Zach Baun OLB/Edge Wisconsin - A+

3 (41) - Adam Trautman TE Dayton - A- 

With so few picks I really expected the Saints to move down for their first round pick to gather some more. However, with a pretty veteran laden team how many rookies would be able to start for them anyways. I do worry though the depth behind their starters are a tad shaky after paying Michael Thomas and Andrus Peat the past few years. Ruiz very well could have gone as high as 17 to the Cowboys and it would have made sense. I think he is an instant starter in this league at center or guard, but his natural position is center with his lack of length and true power in the run game. He is a very strong anchor in the middle and will continue to get a lot better being only 20 years old. However, I am curious on where he will play on the Saints in his first year with them just having paid Peat, Warford having just gone to a Pro Bowl, and having traded up for Erik McCoy last year who played great as a rookie. Maybe they move on from Warford who is a free agent next year, but I really really think with so few picks and a Super Bowl window closing after this year when Brees retires, I thought they could have done better with their first round pick. I loved their 3rd round picks landing Baun and Trautman who all could have gone as high as the end of the first round. Baun had a bad drug sample at the Combine that could have scared teams off. His talent though is undeniable with his speed off the edge and versatility. He draws a lot of similarities to Chase Matthews and should be a nice boost to a steady Saints defense. They have been lacking a true compliment to Cam Jordan who has been severely underrated, maybe Baun will be that guy. Now Trautman is a great value since I did think he would go higher than he was supposed to. Trautman is this year's small school tight end that everyone falls in love with, but to me those have yet to really pan out. Sure guys like Antonio Gates come around every once in awhile, but he was even an undrafted talent. I would not be surprised if Trautman fizzles out like Adam Shaheen, Gerald Everett, and others have gone on to not really be as great as expected. The only bonus I will give Trautman is that he is landing in a great situation with Drew Brees and Sean Payton so he should be a key component next season. Still, I think his prime years will be after Brees and Payton are gone due to how long it can take for a tight end to pop in this league. Amazing value and upside, but I am not as sold as others. Plus, trading up for him with so few picks is a little curious also. 

7 (26) - Tommy Stevens QB Mississippi St - F

I actually would have been fine with that quarterback pick at the end, but with very few picks why even take a guy who will never even have a shot to play for you. A new receiver, corner, safety, linebacker, or running back all could have made sense here. Double it with the fact they picked up Jameis Winston later after the draft just shows how pointless taking Stevens was here. At best he will be a practice squad guy for his entire career. Overall, this draft is a solid A- grade and with so few picks that is quite impressive. However, I am curious how any of these guys will contribute Day 1 on a team ready to win now. I do love the talent between Ruiz, Baun, and Trautman who I do think all will work in this league. Ruiz will probably not play his rookie season and Trautman is most likely a year or two away from developing into a true contributor. By that time Brees and Payton could be gone and the Saints could be lost in mediocrity like they were before their arrival. To me these prospects are very good, but the fits are curious so I am a bit torn. However, I will not be shocked if injuries occur that this team might fall behind the Bucs in the division. Outside of Brees last year they were lucky to avoid any other major injuries. Most teams are not that lucky two years in a row. It will be interesting to see how the NFC South breaks down this season. 

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