The New Orleans Saints acquired an additional first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, and it screams about their need at quarterback.
On Monday, a rare NFL trade. A total of eight draft picks on the move between the Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints.
Ultimately, the Eagles traded the No. 16 and 19 overall picks along with No. 194 overall in the sixth round to New Orleans. The Saints are sending the 18th-overall selection back in return, accompanied by the third- and seventh-round choices come April’s draft, a 2023 first-rounder and a second-rounder in 2024.
All told, it’s tough to see this as a win in terms of value for the Saints. They’re giving up a load of premium picks over the next three years, while Philadelphia is going from four first-round choices over the next two years … to having four first-round choices over the next two years, just in a different order.
Yet for Saints general manager Mickey Loomis, the intention is clear. New Orleans needs a quarterback, and if it has to overpay to land a guy it wants, so be it.
While most experts agree this draft class is light on top-tier quarterback talent, Loomis might see it differently. There are intriguing prospects led by Liberty’s Malik Willis, and including Ole Miss’ Matt Corral, Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, Cincinnati’s Desmond Rittler and others.
However, if the Saints want Willis, they better have another big trade up their proverbial sleeve. The Liberty product is raw but has elite upside with a rocket arm and top-quality athleticism.
Looking at the classic Jimmy Johnson chart, New Orleans’ two first-round picks are worth 1,875 points. In theory, the Saints can get to the No. 4 overall pick by packaging their selections, provided the New York Jets would be willing to dance. Of course, both the Jets and New York Giants — who hold the fifth-overall pick — are in rebuilds and should welcome the additional capital.
For Loomis and the Saints, anything short of drafting a quarterback makes little sense. New Orleans gave up a small fortune in draft picks and needs to figure out its future at the sport’s most-important position.
Apparently, the Saints believe the time has come to make that happen.