Adam Forsythe / April 7, 2022
The 2022 NFL Draft is rapidly approaching and the New Orleans Saints are preparing to make a splash come draft night. The team completed a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this week, swapping multiple draft picks. The Eagles sent the Saints the 16th, 19th, and 194th overall picks in exchange for the 18th, 101st, and 237th overall selections in this year’s draft as well as a first-round pick in 2023 and a second-round pick in 2024.
This monstrous trade now has the Saints making three selections within the first 50 picks in this year’s draft. Now that the Saints’ draft order has been shaken up significantly, here’s a look at how it could play out for the Saints in a 7-round mock draft.
Round 1, Pick 16: IDL Jordan Davis, Georgia
Now that the Saints completed the trade with the Eagles, they have the ammo to trade up in the draft should the right player start to fall. However, in this mock draft they stay put at 16 and select a wrecking ball in Georgia’s Jordan Davis. The Saints could use this pick to fill some of the more obvious holes on the team like left tackle or wide receiver, however, the value of adding a monstrous disruptor like Davis with this pick could be too enticing to pass up. David Onyemata is the current starting defensive tackle for the Saints, and while the team has addressed defensive tackle depth via free agency, pairing Davis with Onyemata could create a truly game-changing duo.
Throughout his four years at Georgia, Davis racked up seven sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss. Davis dominated the NFL Scouting Combine in March. Standing at 6’6″ and weighing in at 341 lbs, Davis ran a 4.78-second 40-yard dash. While Davis needs to improve as a pass rusher, his mountainous frame makes him a terrifying force as a run stopper.
Round 1, Pick 19: WR Chris Olave, Ohio State
With their second 1st-round pick, the Saints address one of their biggest needs and select Ohio State’s Chris Olave. Last year’s offensive struggles for the Saints made it clear that they need to add more playmakers at wide receiver, even with Michael Thomas making his much anticipated return. Olave would provide the Saints with that much needed jolt as he is one of the fastest receivers in this year’s draft class.
At the NFL Scouting Combine, Olave ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash, 8th fastest among wide receivers. Olave also has the statistics to match his game-changing speed as he hauled in 175 receptions for 2,702 yards and 35 touchdowns throughout his four years at Ohio State. While he isn’t the most physical receiver, Olave is an electric playmaker that the Saints would be excited to add to their offense.
Round 2, Pick 49: OT Nicholas Petit-Frere, Ohio State
With their next pick in the draft, the Saints go back to the Ohio State well to fill another position of need and select offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere. The former buckeye is an athletic tackle who could help to supplement the loss of Terron Armstead at the left tackle position.
While Petite-Frere’s athleticism and talent are intriguing, he still has some areas of improvement to address before he can reach his full potential. This was most evident when Ohio State faced Michigan and Petit-Frere was matched up against the projected first overall pick, defensive end Aidan Hutchinson. Petit-Frere struggled against Hutchinson and other players who were simply stronger than him. If Petit-Frere can gain strength and stability in his base as a pass protector, then he should become a solid addition to the left side of the Saints’ offensive line.
Round 3, Pick 98: TE Cade Otton, Washington
The Adam Trautman experiment hasn’t quite planned out how the Saints had hoped when they selected him in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. So, with their third-round selection this year, the Saints look to Washington’s Cade Otton to add some more firepower to their offense.
While he isn’t aggressive when it comes to blocking or against heavily contested catches, Otton is a solid route-runner with great hands that could mightily improve a Saints’ offense that struggled in 2021. Over the course of four years at Washington, Otton caught 91 passes for 1,026 yards and nine touchdowns. He would step in as an immediate upgrade for the Saints.
Round 4, Pick 120: RB Kyren Williams, Notre Dame
With the uncertainty surrounding star running back Alvin Kamara, the Saints are likely to look to the draft to add a running back, which is exactly what they do in the fourth round of this mock draft by selecting Notre Dame’s Kyren Williams.
Williams is a do-it-all type of running back. He has the ability to run over and around defenders. Additionally, Williams has shown his skills as a pass-catcher and as a pass protector with blitz pickups. In his final season with the Fighting Irish, Williams ran for over 1,000 yards and added another 359 yards through the air en route to 17 total touchdowns. If Kamara is facing a suspension for his arrest in Las Vegas earlier this year, Williams could step in and fill that void for the Saints.
Round 5, Pick 161: WR Romeo Doubs, Nevada
Wide receiver was such a concerning position for the Saints in 2021 that the team elects to double up in this mock draft and select former Nevada receiver Romeo Doubs.
Doubs is a receiver with excellent straight-line speed and tremendous body control, especially when near the sideline. Doubs eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards in each of his final two seasons for Nevada, scoring 11 times in his final year. While his route-running skills need some improvement, taking a late-round shot on athletic receiver like Doubs could be beneficial for the Saints.
Round 6, Pick 194: OL Cade Mays, Tennessee
With their final selection in this offensive-heavy mock draft, the Saints select offensive guard Cade Mays from Tennessee.
Mays has displayed good strength to pair along with his broad frame at 6’5″ and 311 lbs, however, there are some technical issues with his play that need improvement. Mays often plays with tight hips and a narrow base, which hopefully recently-hired offensive line coach Doug Marrone can help to iron out. While Mays is projected as an interior lineman in the NFL, he has experience at all five offensive line positions. This versatility would be extremely helpful for the Saints, especially after the team dealt with so many injuries along the offensive line in 2021.
Be sure to follow Gumbo Sports on Twitter: @GumboSports