The New Orleans Saints are fresh off a successful season in which Sean Payton's team went 11-5 before a crushing loss to the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Divisional Round. In the offseason, quarterback Drew Brees re-signed with New Orleans on a two-year, $50 million contract, while the team also signed wide receiver Cameron Meredith and tight end Benjamin Watson. The Saints had an extremely successful draft class last season, with rookie running back Alvin Kamara leading the way, and will look to do the same this year.
The Saints were involved in the third trade on draft day, and it was a big one: in order to move up 13 spots to No. 14 overall, New Orleans gave up a fifth-round pick this year and a first round pick next year as well.
How will they use their picks in the NFL draft? We’re breaking down every selection below.
Here's the full list of picks the Saints hold in the 2018 draft, which will be updated as each selection is made.
Round 1, Pick 14 (No. 14 overall) [via Green Bay]
Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
Andy Benoit's grade: B
When the Saints traded the No. 27 pick and next year’s first-rounder to move up, many thought they’d take Drew Brees’s successor, Lamar Jackson. But Marcus Davenport’s name was announced. Davenport provides the explosive edge-rushing that was missing opposite All-Pro Cameron Jordan. While the trade seemed like an awfully steep price to pay, the relief of the Saints doing the right thing and building on their improving—but still far from perfect—defense inflates this grade.
Scouting Report: Built like a power forward, UTSA’s Davenport dominated hapless Conference USA opponents with a blend of size and explosiveness rarely seen outside the Power Five conferences. After getting by purely on athletic gifts during his college career, Davenport has some work to do before he’ll be able to dominate similarly against NFL-caliber athletes. But his ceiling is enormous, and he’s even more intriguing in a draft that’s light on edge players (and in a year when there are few to be had on the free-agent market).
Round 3, Pick 27 (No. 91 overall): Tre'Quan Smith, WR, Central Florida
Andy Benoit's grade: B-
Stylistically, Smith is very similar to wideouts Brandon Coleman and Cameron Meredith (recently signed from Chicago). Bigger-bodied receivers who can get downfield are critical in a Saints scheme that often attacks between the painted field numbers. This pick suggests that Coleman won’t be re-signed when his contract expires after the season.
Round 4, Pick 27 (No. 127 overall): Rick Leonard, T, Florida State
Round 5, Pick 27 (No. 164 overall): Natrell Jamerson, S, Wisconsin
Round 6, Pick 15 (No. 189 overall): Kamrin Moore, CB, Boston College
Round 6, Pick 27 (No. 201 overall): Boston Scott, RB, Louisiana Tech
Round 7, Pick 27 (No. 245 overall): Will Clapp, C, LSU