There were many unknowns heading into the 2020 NFL draft due to the circumstances under which it was being held. How would doing everything virtually work? What happens if the power goes out? In the end, everything worked out smoothly for the Saints, and they came away with four very solid players.
Heading into the draft, the word was that the Saints were trying to move up. It was unknown for who, but Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis were on the phone gauging the market. The Saints ended up staying at 24th overall and shocking everyone when they selected Cesar Ruiz G/C out of Michigan with Patrick Queen out of LSU still on the board. That sparked this reaction from the Mayo Man himself…
Despite being unexpected, Ruiz was a great pick. For any fans who want to argue that offensive line was not a need, I urge you to go re-watch the game against the Dirty Birds in week 10 and the Wildcard game against Minnesota. You’ll see that the interior offensive line is why we lost both of those games. Ruiz is the best interior offensive lineman in this draft. He can play three different positions, Right Guard, Left Guard, and Center. Having a versatile lineman like him is valuable beyond belief. This pick also makes Larry Warford, who had a down season this past year, expendable. If we were to trade Warford, that would open $8 Million in cap space. That money could be used to bring back Alvin Kamara and the rest of the star studded 2017 draft class. Ruiz is a stud and a great young man.
Heading into day 2 of the draft, the Saints were on the phone looking to move up yet again. We didn’t have a 2nd round pick, but Sean Payton said that he and Mickey Loomis were on the phone all night long trying to workout a trade to move up from 88th overall. They called every team from 33rd until their eventual new pick 74th. The Saints eventually agreed to trade the 88th overall pick and a 3rd rounder next year to Cleveland for the 74th overall pick and the 244th overall pick. For any fans concerned about giving away a 3rd rounder next year, the Saints will likely be receiving a compensatory 3rd round pick in 2021 due to Teddy Bridgewater leaving in free agency.
The Saints needed a Linebacker and got one of the best ones. They selected Zach Baun out of Wisconsin. Baun is a player who some experts had going in the first round. However, concerns over a foot injury and a diluted sample at the combine caused him to fall all the way to the 3rd round. Sean Payton said that Baun was the player they had their eyes on all along, and it was a blessing in disguise that they weren’t able to work out a trade earlier. Another great pick by the Saints!
It looked like the Saints’ draft day 2 was finished after selecting Baun. We were set to have 4 picks on the third and final day of the NFL draft. However, Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis saw a prospect who they couldn’t resist and traded back into the 3rd round. The Saints gave up all the rest of their picks, 130th, 169th, 203rd, and 244th to move up to 105th overall to take Adam Trautman.
The Tight End out of Dayton was considered the best TE in the draft by many. He is about 6’6 255lbs, has great hands, and is a good route runner. In his Senior year, Trautman caught 70 passes for 916 yards and 14 TDs. Trautman was also a former QB in high school, so do not be surprised to see Sean Payton reach into his bag of tricks and call some Trautman and Taysom trick plays this year.
Just when we thought the New Orleans Saints’ NFL draft was finished, they surprise everyone and traded for one last pick. They gave up a 2021 6th rounder to Houston in exchange for the 240th pick to take Tommy Stevens, a QB out of Mississippi. Make no mistake about it though, this guy is coming in to try to be the next Taysom Hill. He is three inches taller than Taysom at 6’5 and about 16 lbs heavier at 236lbs. Stevens has dealt with injuries throughout his college career which prevented him from finding any real rhythm. He spent four years at Penn State where he lined up all over the place. He took snaps at Quarterback, Running Back, and Wide Receiver. Sound familiar? Stevens eventually transferred to Mississippi State for his Senior season.
It is obvious that Payton has a plan for Stevens because prior to picking him, the Saints had Stevens send them a video of him running routes. Stevens says that he models his game after Taysom Hill. Well, now he is headed to the team that invented the joker role Stevens wants to play.
The Saints decided to go for quality over quantity in this draft and got four players who could come in and make an instant impact. Looks like another great NFL draft by Mickey Loomis, Sean Payton, and Co. Hold it.