May 27, 2024

New Orleans Saints 2024 NFL Draft Picks: Analysis and Grades

The New Orleans Saints wrapped up the 2024 NFL Draft with seven selections, continuing their streak of trading up for 17 consecutive drafts. Here’s a breakdown of each pick, along with assessments and grades from The Athletic’s draft analysis.

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  1. Round 1, 14th Overall: OT Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State
    • Grade: A
    • Fuaga addresses the Saints’ pressing need for an offensive tackle. Standing at 6 feet 5.5 inches and weighing 324 pounds, he predominantly played right tackle at Oregon State. Coach Dennis Allen expressed admiration for Fuaga during the NFL Combine, though it remains unclear whether he’ll slot in on the left or right side in New Orleans.
  2. Round 2, 41st Overall (via Green Bay Packers): CB Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama
    • Grade: A
    • McKinstry, the second cornerback from Alabama selected in the draft, brings a formidable presence to the Saints’ defense. His stellar performance in college football over the past two years suggests he’ll vie for immediate starting opportunities. Former coach Nick Saban commended McKinstry’s abilities, and the Saints traded up by sacrificing a fifth and sixth-round pick to secure him.
  3. Round 5, 150th Overall: QB Spencer Rattler, South Carolina
    • The Saints bolstered their quarterback depth by drafting Rattler, who joins a crowded room alongside Derek Carr, Jake Haener, Nathan Peterman, and Kellen Mond. Despite initially being a Heisman favorite at Oklahoma, Rattler transferred to South Carolina after losing his starting position. His impressive collegiate stats and high school recruit ranking hint at considerable potential.
  4. Round 5, 170th Overall (Compensatory): WR Bub Means, Pittsburgh
    • Means, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound receiver, showcased his athleticism at the NFL Combine with notable speed and vertical jumping ability. With promising attributes, he adds depth to the Saints’ receiving corps, which relies heavily on Chris Olave. Means is poised to compete for playing time immediately.
  5. Round 5, 175th Overall (Compensatory): LB Jaylan Ford, Texas
    • Ford, selected from Texas, brings solid experience and productivity to the Saints’ linebacker unit. With over 100 tackles in each of his past two seasons, he joins a group that includes Demario Davis, Pete Werner, and Willie Gay. Ford’s notable intangibles, despite limited athletic upside, suggest he could thrive in the NFL.
  6. Round 6, 199th Overall (via Philadelphia Eagles): DT Khristian Boyd, Northern Iowa
    • Not provided in the original text.
  7. Round 7, 239th Overall (via Denver Broncos): OT Josiah Ezirim, Western Kentucky
    • Not provided in the original text.

The New Orleans Saints’ strategy in the 2024 NFL Draft emphasizes addressing key positional needs while also adding depth and potential impact players. With a mix of established talent and promising prospects, the Saints aim to strengthen their roster for the upcoming season.

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