After Further Review: Five takes from the Saints 2023 draft

FILE - Bresee fills the Saints biggest need along the defensive line ( photo Monday, Aug. 22,...
FILE - Bresee fills the Saints biggest need along the defensive line ( photo Monday, Aug. 22, 2022.)(Associated Press)
Published: Apr. 30, 2023 at 9:53 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Take One: Belief in the big men

The Saints 2023 draft class consisted of:

Bryan Bresee

Isaiah Foskey

Kendre Miller

Nick Saldiveri

Jake Haener

Jordan Howden

A.T. Perry

In that group there’s  6′5 defensive tackle, a 6′5 defensive end, a 6′6 offensive lineman, a 6′0 running back and a 6′3.5 wide receiver.

That’s not by accident. It’s intentional. The Saints believe heavily in prototype size and drafted accordingly with most of their selections this year.

Dennis Allen said after the draft that it’s a big man’s game and that there aren’t that many guys walking the earth with that kind of size and the ability to play. Thus, the Saints believe in getting as many of those guys as possible.

Take Two: Instant impact players

It’s no secret which players should provide the most immediate impact. Breesee, Foskey and Miller all fill the team’s top three needs and all three should get on the field in some form or fashion.

Bresee fills the most pressing need and at the very least will get into the rotation at defensive tackle. It would be disappointing if he doesn’t see meaning fun snaps.

Opposite of Cam Jordan, there’s Payton Turner and Carl Granderson, Foskey should compete with those guys to get on the field. Allen said he still has development to go from a technique standpoint in rushing the passer.

In Miller’s case, with Alvin Kamara likely facing a suspension they’ll need him to get on the field out of necessity. Even when Kamara returns, Miller should still be able to see if the field if he can demonstrate comfort within the system.

Given their history at the position, Perry may have a shot to see the field early as well.

Take Three: Quarterback Investment

It’s interesting that the only outlier from a size perspective that the Saints took in this class came at the game’s most important position. Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener is barely 6′0, but the team felt he was worth moving up in the fourth round to select at 127.

Saints assistants Ronald Curry and D.J. Williams both coached Haener at the Senior Bowl and loved him. He was the game’s MVP and has exactly the type of skillset the Saints value in terms of production, accuracy and intangibles.

There were questions leading  up to the draft on whether the Saints should take a quarterback. My belief is that they should constantly invest in that position. This season he’ll likely be third on the depth chart but should develop into a quality backup. Who knows what could happen after that.

When asked about why they went against prototype for this position, Dennis Allen said they’ve had success with quarterbacks that size in the past.

Take Four: Final Grades

This feels like the ultimate ‘glue guys’ type of class. Every single player had a ton of production and were viewed as strong leaders with impeccable character. They all certainly came off that way in their initial interviews with the local media. It was impressive to hear such maturity from every single one of their draft picks. Frankly, that’s not always the case. These are the types of guys any locker room needs.

The floor feels high with this group, but I’ll be very curious to see how many of them develop into top-notch star/elite players. Plus, there are still some needs that they didn’t address.

Grade: B+

Take Five: Other Observations:

  • There is no bigger need on the roster right now than the one at tight end. The Saints went into the draft needing some depth at tight end. Then, they traded Adam Trautman away in the sixth round and didn’t draft one, leaving them even thinner at the position. Look for them to address this position in the coming days/weeks.
  • Linebacker is another area of concern. The team wasn’t able to grab one in the draft and have some unknowns behind DeMario Davis and Pete Werner, Werner has struggled to stay healthy.
  • The Saints made up for their lack of trading in days one and two, to go wheeling and dealing on day three. The team moved three different times to land players.
  • One of those came right out of the gate in round four when they moved up with Chicago to grab Saldiveri from Old Dominion with the first pick of the day. Given their aggressiveness in moving up, there’s a strong chance he was graded much higher than 103 on Saints board. When asked, Allen said they knew the run on linemen was coming, and he was the one they  wanted. Saldiveri may play inside initially.
  • Allen said Thursday that  quarterback was in their cluster of players at 29. If that was indeed Will Levis, it would have interesting to see what would have happened had he been available at 40.

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