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NFL Draft 32 for 32 - New Orleans Saints

Coming off of one of the most excruciating losses in NFL playoff history, the Saints will be looking ahead for another chance at a title in 2019. With one of the best quarterbacks in the league under center, Drew Brees, the team sports one of the more explosive offenses for fantasy. He will be looking to ride the momentum of a strong 2018 (36 total TDs and a finish as QB8). The regression in passing yardage was surprising for Brees last season (3,992), as the team rode a strong rushing attack and took advantage of short field situations. Coming into 2019, much of the same is to be expected from this offense with most of the key pieces returning. This makes Brees a QB that will be a borderline QB1 come draft time. The value will be there on scoring potential alone, but gone may be the days of Brees eclipsing 5,000 yards on the year.

His pass catchers come down to the target monster Michael Thomas and a group of sleepers behind him. Thomas, a surefire WR1, is as consistent as they come in fantasy as he gives you a solid floor of production to rely on. Tre'Quan Smith is the name to watch. He showed flashes last season, even scoring five TDs on the year while battling injuries off and on. He could be a mid-to-late round pick that has the chance to pay huge dividends if he shows some consistency. Players like Keith Kirkwood and Austin Carr are merely DFS deep dives that you can play for cheap and hope to hit big. But not worthy of a roster spot in seasonal leagues.

As for the rushing attack of this Saints team, we may finally see a rise in rushing touched for Alvin Kamara in 2019. Gone is Mark Ingram, only to be replaced by Latavius Murray. Kamara will still be the focal point of this offense and a dual-threat scorer that makes him a high pick in any fantasy format. He will be off the board anywhere from the second pick to fifth in all leagues this year. The question will be just what Murray's role be. Does he take a majority of snaps as a rusher like Ingram, or will he be relegated to being more of a short-yardage back? The smart play would be to grab Murray as a handcuff to Kamara, but odds are that some owners may reach a tad early for Murray in drafts.

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Top Three Projected Selections

Second Round- Elgton Jenkins, C Mississippi State (62nd overall)
Fifth Round- Iman Marshall, CB USC (168th)
Sixth Round- David Sills, WR West Virginia (177th)

Remaining Picks
Sixth Round- 202nd
Seventh Round- 231st, 244th


Needs Analysis

Heading into the draft, the Saints are looking at mostly late picks in this year's class. But, the good news for them is that they do not have many holes to fill on this roster, if any at all. I expect for them to utilize the picks that they have to solidify any depth issues they feel need to be addressed.

Elgton Jenkins is an efficient prospect that gives the Saints some flexibility along the offensive line. His natural position is at center but he can slide over and play at tackle just as well. His size and speed allow him to match up well with any type of defenders across from him. His tape from college suggests that he can step right in and be an early starter in the NFL. This selection only helps a team whose identity is changing into a balanced rushing attack with a solid defense.

Iman Marshall is another pick that can be looked at as having flexibility. A four-year starter at cornerback, Marshall may be looking at a move to safety at the next level based on his lack of long speed. But his size and play strength make it hard to keep him off the field. He could play corner in a Cover-2 scheme, but his ability to cover tight ends and running backs make him a better fit for safety. With some of the issues the Saints faced in the secondary last season, Marshall could see substantial playing time early on.

David Sills is a player that I have tied to the Saints early on in the process. The tall receiver gives the team another solid option outside with Michael Thomas and allows Tre'Quan Smith to play more snaps out of the slot. Sills' ball skills are among the best in this class and could make him a dangerous player around the red-zone for Brees. Finding creative ways to get the ball into Sills' hands will be right in line for Sean Payton. The rookie season might be one to forget for him, but in terms of dynasty potential, Sills could be a late round steal in rookie drafts.

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