After Further Review: Saints draft grades
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - 1st round (14th) UTSA Defensive end Marcus Davenport
I absolutely love the idea of finally getting the position they've targeted for years. They've called edge pass rusher a 'must' for the last few drafts, and this year they finally landed their guy.
But bold moves come with inherent risks. By trading what the Saints did to acquire Davenport they're essentially saying they're all in and Davenport is the missing piece. In turn, that 2019 first rounder will be a later pick. If an organization is all in for 2018 then their prized pick must have an impact in 2018. The Saints can't expect a whole lot of patience when giving up those kinds of assets.
3rd round (91st) Central Florida Wide Receiver Tre'Quan Smith
Cleary a highest graded or best player available pick at 91. The Saints had more pressing needs but Smith was highest on their board. Smith checks all the appropriate boxes: size, speed and production and seems like a safe selection. His knowledge of the system will determine how quickly he gets on the field.
4th round (127th) Florida State tackle Rick Leonard
Leonard is a converted defensive end that started at right tackle for the Seminoles. He's also a perfect example of how drastically different day three grades can be. I didn't see a single grade on him higher than the sixth round. Overall, this feels a little high for Leonard but it adds some depth to the offensive line.
5th round (164th) Wisconsin CB/S Natrell Jamerson
Another position convert who spent part of his career as a wide receiver. Jamerson is a combine freak who the Saints see as an athlete with a potentially big upside. Initially, they want him to play cornerback, but I'll be curious to see what position he ends up settling in at.
6th round (189th) Boston College CB Kamrin Moore
An aggressive cornerback with nearly identical measurables to Jamerson. The Saints could use some depth at the position. Like Jamerson. I'm curious to see where he settles in at as either an outside or nickel cornerback.
6th round (201st) LA Tech RB Boston Scott
A Louisiana kid who's had to earn everything he's gotten on the football field. At 5'6 and 200 pounds, Scott went from Zachary High to Tech as a preferred walk and became the team's leading rusher. His size dimensions mirror that of Darren Sproles and there's clear evidence of what Sean Payton can do with that type of back. Still, not everyone is Sproles, and Scott has his work cut out for him. If he can add some return ability, he'll have a chance to stick around.
7th round (245th) LSU C/G Will Clapp
The streak is over! The Saints waited to 245 selections to draft their first LSU player since Al Woods back in 2010. But Clapp is going to thrive not because he's a local guy but because he's a great fit for what the Saints need. He gives great versatility along the interior of the offensive line and can be the eventual replacement to Max Unger. From a value standpoint, Clapp may be the best pick of the class. In most rankings, Clapp had a fifth-round grade.
Like every class, we won't get a true grade until a few years down the road. We knew this was going to be a developmental type draft given the lack of holes on the roster. Comparing this class to 2017's group would be a mistake. Those classes don't come around too often. Still, Davenport should be an instant playmaker, Smith should see the field and Leonard and Clapp can provide much-needed depth along the offensive line. Special teams will be key for the other three players.
Missing out on a tight end or defensive tackle is disappointing. Of this seven-player haul, it wouldn't shock if two end up on practice squad.
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