2023 NFL Draft: New Orleans Saints
The Saints entered last offseason $75 million over the salary cap and for the first time since 2006 (save for his 2012 suspension), Sean Payton was not their head coach. A healthy Jameis Winston began the season as the starter in New Orleans, and the Saints even expected Michael Thomas back in the fold after being mostly an afterthought since his huge 2019 season.
Needless to say, there were several question marks in New Orleans. The Saints started the season 3-7 and somehow finished only one game out of first in the division, closing with a 7-10 record. In a division that’s mostly neck-and-neck entering 2023, the Saints could go a few different ways to set themselves apart.
Top Draft Needs: QB, IDL, WR
The Saints need to find a quarterback but don’t seem to own a coaching staff or roster that would attract a franchise-altering QB in free agency. There are pieces, for sure, but I can’t see New Orleans bringing in someone like Lamar Jackson, Tom Brady, or Aaron Rodgers. I believe they will turn to the draft to find their long-term solution, taking a quarterback early.
Elsewhere on the offensive side of the ball, the Saints could look to shore up their interior offensive line. Andrus Peat is a great player when healthy but is perpetually unavailable. Adding another playmaker at receiver and running back are also potential outcomes. Chris Olave had a tremendous rookie season and adding another perimeter threat would certainly elevate this offense. As Alvin Kamara continues to age, a complementary back with three-down potential could prolong his career.
On defense, the interior defensive line needs to be addressed. The Saints had the 24th-ranked rushing defense and both David Onyemata and Shy Tuttle are set to hit the open market. Keep an eye on safety as well. The duo of Marcus Maye and Tyrann Mathieu is sturdy enough, meaning safety is not the top priority, but they’re not getting any younger and the Saints need to consider the long-term answer at the position.