New Orleans Saints 2022 Draft
For the first time in a long time, the New Orleans Saints are seeking a new direction. With franchise quarterback Drew Brees retiring after the 2020 season followed by coach Sean Payton’s abrupt departure after last season, the Saints are in a transition period. Payton had presided over the most successful period in franchise history, compiling a 152-89 record (9-8 in playoffs) and winning a Super Bowl.
Dennis Allen isn’t in an easy position for a coach taking over his second career NFL job. Allen’s run with the Raiders from 2012-14 resulted in an 8-28 record, then terminated four games into his third season What Allen has to first determine is which quarterback leads the team.
Taysom Hill is the incumbent, but he was oft-injured during the 2021 season. He ended with 978 passing yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions. The Saints pieced together last season with a mix of Hill, Jameis Winston, and Trevor Siemian, managing a 9-8 record. That will be untenable moving forward, as Winston and Siemian are both free agents.
The Saints’ life post-Payton won’t be easy . New Orleans is currently $6 million over the cap, with only three teams (San Francisco, Green Bay, LA Rams) in worse shape. Whatever roster is left standing will keep Allen’s hands full.
Players Leaving the New Orleans Saints
Defensive back P.J. Williams will likely be too expensive for New Orleans to retain. Williams, who has been with the Saints since 2016, had his best season with the club last year, intercepting a career-high three passes and returning them for 86 yards and a score. Williams also forced a fumble and defended five passes in five starts.
Much like Williams, linebacker Kwon Alexander will seek more money and opportunities elsewher. Alexander missed five games last season, starting eight of the 12 games he played. Alexander also intercepted a pass, recovered a fumble, and recorded 3½ sacks.
Tackle Terron Armstead will likely be leaving for a new opportunity. Armstead was limited by injuries last season and saw the least amount of playing time since the 2016 season. With younger players available, New Orleans will be seek to go in a different direction.
Tight end Nick Vannett only caught nine passes for 133 yards and (one touchdown) in seven games with New Orleans last season. The Saints could save close to $1 million in cap space by letting Vannett walk. Cornerback Bradley Roby will also likely be cut. There’s a $10 million cap hit after one interception (23 tackles) last season.
Position Needed by the New Orleans Saints
New Orleans is still searching for the answer at quarterback. Hill was drafted out of BYU as a project, but hasn’t had the seasoning to develop. The question for New Orleans is, does it want to re-sign Winston, then fix other issues with this draft? Perhaps the Saints take a stab at acquiring an experienced quarterback from out-of-town. Whatever the plan, New Orleans needs more consistency at the position.
The Saints also need help at wide receiver. New Orleans has said it would like to bring Michael Thomas back, but it hasn’t worked out a deal. The Saints’ leading receivers last year were Marquez Callaway (46 receptions, 698 yards) and Devonte Harris (36 catches, 570 yards).
New Orleans could also use help at offensive tackle. Providing depth at that position allow any quarterback to settle in without worrying about running for his life.
New Orleans Saints Mock Draft
The Saints have eight picks in the draft. How New Orleans attacks the selections provide a good insight into its direction of rebuilding. With the No. 18 choice, New Orleans could draft Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral.
Corral was the maestro of the Rebels’ high-flying offense in 2021. He passed for 3,349 yards, with a 67.9% completion rate, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions. He also earned the respect of many for leading Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl against Baylor, where he was forced to leave due to injury.
In the second round, New Orleans could draft a target for Corral, perhaps Penn State’s Jahan Dotson. Dotson led the Nittany Lions with 91 receptions (1,182 yards, 12 touchdowns). Dotson also had a long catch of 86 yards.
Tulsa tackle Tyler Smith should be available in the third round. Smith helped the Golden Hurricane finish the season 7-6, including a victory in the Myrtle Beach Bowl. He is 6-foot-5, 332 pounds, and can bring some energy and attitude to New Orleans. Check Saints’ NFL Draft odds and NFL Odds.
2022 NFL Draft Event Information
- Date: Thursday, April 28 (Round 1) | Friday, April 29 (Rounds 2-3) | Saturday, April 30 (Rounds 4-7)
- Time: 8 p.m. ET (Thursday) | 7 p.m. ET (Friday) | Noon ET (Saturday)
- Location: Allegiant Stadium, Paradise, NV
- TV Channel: ABC | ESPN | NFL Network
- NFL Draft Live Streaming: NFL Game Pass
2022 NFL First-Round Draft Order (with 2021 records)
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Detroit Lions
- Houston Texans
- NY Jets
- NY Giants
- Carolina Panthers
- NY Giants (via Bears)
- Atlanta Falcons
- Seattle Seahawks (via Broncos)
- NY Jets (via Seahawks)
- Washington Commanders
- Minnesota Vikings
- Houston Texans (via Browns)
- Baltimore Ravens
- Philadelphia Eagles (via Dolphins)
- Philadelphia Eagles (via Colts)
- LA Chargers
- New Orleans Saints
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- New England Patriots
- Green Bay Packers (via Raiders)
- Arizona Cardinals
- Dallas Cowboys
- Buffalo Bills
- Tennessee Titans
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Green Bay Packers
- Kansas City Chiefs (via 49ers)
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Detroit Lions (via Rams)
Teams with no First Round Pick
- San Francisco 49ers
- Chicago Bears
- Denver Broncos
- Cleveland Browns
- Indianapolis Colts
- Las Vegas Raiders
- Los Angeles Rams
- Miami Dolphins