In their first season without Drew Brees under center, the New Orleans Saints did alright for themselves. The offense got off to a good start with quarterback Jameis Winston handling starting duties, starting the year with a 5-2 record. But when Winston went down with a torn ACL, the Saints offense suffered. But the defense played lights out, a top-five unit against the run and the pass, and that kept the Saints in the playoff chase until the bitter end. They finished the year with a 9-8 record.
Head coach Sean Payton hung it up in the offseason, another change for the Saints. But they made what should be a smooth transition by handing coaching duties over to defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. New Orleans didn’t have much cap room to work with this spring, but they found enough to re-sign Winston and bring in safety Marcus Maye to anchor the back of the defense. But this year’s draft will be especially important for the Saints in 2022 and beyond.
Here are the Saints’ picks in the 2022 NFL Draft.
2022 Draft Picks
Round 1: Nos. 16 and 19 (from Eagles)
Round 2: No. 49
Round 3: No. 98
Round 4: No. 120
Round 5: No. 161
Round 6: No. 194 (from Eagles)
Round 7: N/A
A healthy Michael Thomas would have helped the Saints offense last season, but an ankle injury kept him out of action all year. Even with a healthy Thomas, the Saints need another big time player on the opposite side. They didn’t have the cap room to keep left tackle Terron Armstead around this year, so that’s another huge void the team will have to fill. Help on the interior line is another need. Quarterback is another need in the draft, but with Winston and Taysom Hill’s contract restructured, it looks like the Saints aren’t thinking about using their first-rounder on a signal caller.
As good as the Saints defense was last season, they could still use depth at cornerback and on the defensive line.
Dream first pick
Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
A wideout coming off a torn ACL might scare the Saints away given their troubles with Michael Thomas, but Williams should be good to go by the mid point of the season, if not sooner. Williams is a big play waiting to happen with the speed to burn the tightest defenses. He has the kind of hands that makes quarterbacks look even better than they are.