We’re still months away from the 2022 season finale, but it surely’s already clear that the Latest Orleans Saints may have many difficult decisions ahead of them come the offseason. Their roster needs work at a wide range of positions, and there are real questions on whether or not they have the proper coaches to get back to their winning ways.
While the Saints are going to be without their best draft asset after trading their 2023 first round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles, they’ll still have selections in other rounds to assist improve the team. And so they’re at all times energetic in free agency. For now, here is our rating of the Saints’ top NFL draft needs:
This is clearly the largest concern. Jameis Winston has been too susceptible to turnovers, stalled-out drives, and injuries during his time with the Saints. Andy Dalton might be a free agent within the spring, and it doesn’t feel like practice squad quarterback Jake Luton is long for Latest Orleans. Winston does have one other 12 months on his contract but it surely shouldn’t prohibit the Saints from moving into one other direction. The Saints should search for a quarterback who could make probably the most out of weapons like Chris Olave and Alvin Kamara.
Here’s the list of running backs to take a snap on offense this 12 months: Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram II, Tony Jones Jr., Dwayne Washington, Latavius Murray, and Jordan Howard. Kamara is the one player in that group under contract for 2023, and he’s probably going to miss time in some unspecified time in the future with a suspension stemming from his alleged involvement in a Las Vegas fight early this 12 months. The Saints haven’t gotten probably the most out of Kamara without Drew Brees conducting the offense, but he isn’t getting any younger, and injuries are beginning to limit him too. They need to search for a high-upside No. 2 back who could supplant him someday.
All 4 defensive tackles on the Saints’ 53-man roster right away are headed free of charge agency, with David Onyemata leaving a major financial penalty (at greater than $10.1 million) if he isn’t re-signed as a consequence of past contract restructures. While it shouldn’t be hard to re-up guys like Shy Tuttle and Malcolm Roach (and Kentavius Street), to be honest the Saints could get well production out of that group. They need to search for upgrades. With so many resources already sunk at defensive end, bolstering the inside is a greater use of draft picks and salary cap dollars.
Cesar Ruiz has played well enough at right guard to earn some trust that he could be a long-term solution there, and the Saints just signed Erik McCoy to a multiyear contract extension, so the middle spot is in fine condition too (assuming he bounces back from this injury). We will’t say the identical about left guard Andrus Peat. He’s sidelined by one other injury and hasn’t played greater than 13 games in a single season since 2017 (back before the 17-game regular season was introduced). Peat could be welcome on any line across the league given his abilities, but his unavailability is an actual concern. His contract structure makes it hard to part ways with him before June 2023, but that shouldn’t stop the Saints from scouting his substitute.
Yes, the Saints just moved mountains to draft Chris Olave, but he’s all they’ve got at wide receiver. Michael Thomas won’t be on the team next 12 months, and if he’s he’ll be recovering from one other season-ending injury. Jarvis Landry missed numerous time early this season with injury, too, and he’ll be a free agent within the spring. Olave and Tre’Quan Smith are the one receivers on the team with 200-plus receiving yards right away and who’re under contract for 2023. They ought to be looking out for more help at this position.
Tyrann Mathieu and Marcus Maye each signed multiyear contracts this offseason, but Maye has missed half the season to this point with injuries and Mathieu hasn’t been the transformational presence the Saints thought he’d be. They may use fresh legs on the position. Ideally they’d look for somebody who can guard the slot while preparing to exchange Mathieu or Maye in a 12 months or two — satirically the precise form of player Latest Orleans traded away in C.J. Gardner-Johnson.