Saints 2020 Draft and Offseasaon Review (1 Viewer)

sainthood

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The Saints record in 2019 was 13 and 3 and one and done in the playoffs. The losses were Rams on road when Brees got hurt, Falcons at home, 49ers at home, and Vikings in playoffs at home. The defensive tackles in these games all got to Brees: Aaron Donald, DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Grady Jarrett, and the Vikings put Griffen and Hunter inside against the Saints. Andrus Peat missed the Falcons and 49ers game. Larry Warford underperformed.

First round pick center / guard Ceasar Ruiz was the best interior lineman in this draft. Warford is in a contract year and if the Saints cut him they gain about five million in cap room. Last year’s second round pick Erik McCoy will move to guard to take Warford’s spot after the Saints resigned Andrus Peat. Ruiz and McCoy provide low cap long term starter potential in a future that may mean when Ryan Ramczyk resigns Terron Armstead my no longer be affordable.

Third round pick Zack Baun answers Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray going one pick before the Saints took Ruiz and how high the Saints were on Ruiz over LSU’s Patrick Queen. The Saints tried to trade up into the second for Baun and were lucky to get a player with double digit sacks from the linebacker position to defray the injury risk to both Alonzo and Anzalone. Murray would have been a better fit as a middle linebacker. The Saints will likely get a third round pick for the loss of Bridgewater which will replace the 2021 draft capital the Saints used to trade up for linebacker Zack Baun because they traded up for Erik McCoy the year before after the retirement of center Max Unger and lacked the second round pick that would have likely been Baun.

Third round pick Adam Trautman had 70 receptions 916 yards and 14 touchdowns last season on a team where every opposing coach was trying to stop him. Trautman was double covered on almost every highlight. Trautman takes Josh Hill’s spot easily and supplements Taysom Hill having to play tight end, which while commendable is the poorest use of Taysom Hill.

Hill was resigned today for two years for $21 million and it looks like the Saints are also signing Jameis Winston to a one year deal. This is hedging the bet on the retirement of Brees and Hill while creating competition and leaving 2021 draft options open. The use of Hill as a non-quarterback remains viable with Winston on the roster and adds a former first overall pick that knows our division rival with a score to settle. If Winston leaves and commands a big contract like Bridgewater the Saints likely would get a supplemental third round pick. Winston could be Warford’s cap space.

Receiver Emmanuel Sanders fills the biggest void in the Saints offense in a pro-bowl level wide out to partner with the over relied Michael Thomas. Sanders destroyed the Saints for the 49ers last year. I think the Saints still would have taken Ruiz over LSU’s Justin Jefferson, because of the financial implications of Warford and knowing guard would be an early round need in 2021 after paying Peat. The Saints could never pay both Peat and Warford knowing what Ramczyk is going to command as making all pro last season, yet somehow not the probowl. This reminds me of the luck of the offensive line depth Ramczyk pick over Reuben Foster who the 49ers traded up right in front of the Saints in 2017 to supplement the retirement of Zach Strief as the Chargers did in 2020 with linebacker Kenneth Murray.

Janoris Jenkins signed a five year $62.5 million contract with the Giants in 2016. The Saints signed him off waivers late last year after an internet comment gone wrong. Jenkins signed a two year 16.5 extension with the Saints giving him three years in millions at $5 in 2020, $14.2 in 2021, and $8.7 in 2022. Lattimore is in the last year of his rookie deal with an option that will get picked up in 2021. 2022 will be his first big money cap hit along with Ramczyk. Putting Jenkins big cap hit in Lattimore’s last secured year is smart by the Saints. Eli Apple is still a free agent after his one year $6 million deal with the Raiders and will probably get signed somewhere else now that the draft is over, but Jenkins is an upgrade to Apple. PJ Williams resigned a one year $2 million contract as depth along with Patrick Robinson from last year’s free agent class who is likely to get cut for cap savings after 2020.

Malcolm Jenkins signed a four year $32 million contract to replace Von Bell. Bell struggled in coverage. Malcom Jenkins is the kind of on the field coach perfect to match the addition of Tom Brady to the NFC South. This is an all in Superbowl move. It also means the Saints probably will not resign Marcus Williams in 2021 and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson moves into the other starting safety putting back up safety as a draft need in 2021.

David Onyemata signed a three year $26 million contract. It is unclear what this means for Sheldon Rankins who is in his fifth year option in 2020. The Saints signed Malcom Brown last year and have 2019 rookie free agent Shy Tuttle. I think the Saints would like to retain the twice injured Rankins but it probably depends on what offers he gets like Peat this offseason. The Saints defensive line in 2020 is loaded.

Drew Brees was resigned to a below market two year $50 million contract with a $36 million cap hit in 2021. Managing Brees’ potential retirement and cap implications while resigning Lattimore and Ramczyk and potentially Alvin Kamara are the biggest items on the table. The Saints had a high interest in Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor. The math money ball aspect tells me the Saints will not resign Kamara unless it is reasonable and look to draft a running back next year depending on how 2020 goes. Top running backs are available at the end of the first round every year. That is where the Saints likely will be drafting. Giving big cap numbers to running backs in the NFL is a losing formula. I love what Kamara does but the math says do not resign Kamara.

I am a big fan of Taysom Hill. I think the tutelage under Brees and his skill set are the new NFL. Thank you Green Bay. The Packers drafting Utah State’s Jordan Love and the Saints passing on Love has much to do with the Packers waiving Hill as a rookie. The idea the Saints did not have to use first round draft capital on a quarterback and have Hill and a first overall pick Winston as insurance is masterful general management by the Saints.

The coronavirus is going to give an advantage to established coaching staff’s and teams like the Saints om 2020. It may also lower the cap total in 2021 and beyond if revenue is down with limited fan attendance. The Saints cap hits in this time of Brees’ potential retirement are a significant issue, but one the Saints have done diligent planning to address.

The Saints are a Superbowl caliber team with in my opinion the best roster in the NFL. The additions of Sanders, Ruiz, and Trautman bolster the weakest spots on last year’s offense: Ted Ginn, Larry Warford, and Josh Hill. The additions of Malcolm Jenkins, a full year of Janoris Jenkins, and Zack Baun swap in for Von Bell, Eli Apple, and hedge the comeback from injuries of Kiko Alonzo and Alex Anzalone who both would start over Baun if healthy.

Post Brees retirement this roster is going to take some hits for cap purposes. I feel like Armstead, Warford, Patrick Robinson, Nick Easton, Sheldon Rankins, Alvin Kamara, and Marcus Williams are all potential casualties. But 2020 is in all in Superbowl year that hopefully when this virus clears Saints fans will be able to re-enter the Super Dome to reunite to see. Who Dat!
 
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sfidc3

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Damn, we have Patrick Peterson? Who knew?

Reasonable take OP, mostly agree with it....
 

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