After analyzing the draft needs of all 32 teams, PFT will review how well each team addressed those needs. Up next: The New Orleans Saints.
What they needed: Outside linebacker, offensive tackle, wide receiver, safety.
Who they got:
Round 1: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Round 3: Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Round 3: John Jenkins, DT, Georgia
Round 5: Kenny Stills, WR, Oklahoma
Round 6: Rufus Johnson, DE, Tarleton State
Where they hit: By drafting Vaccaro, they get to take at least one member of the league’s all-time worst defense off the field. That alone makes it a good thing, but they had multiple needs on that side of the ball. Jenkins was effectively the result of the Chris Ivory trade, so they swapped a reserve running back for a guy who could chew up space in the middle of Rob Ryan’s 3-4 defense for years to come.
Where they missed: Armstead has some potential at a spot they have a need, but in the short-term, he might not be more able to protect Drew Brees’ blind side than Charles Brown is this year. But he wasn’t necessarily drafted for this year. They also failed to bring in any meaningful help for the pass rush, which means free agent pickup Victor Butler better take a big step up, or the Saints are going to struggle to be that much better on that side of the ball.
Impact rookies: With only five picks, it was going to be hard to fill all the needs this offseason. And adding the best safety in the draft is clearly a benefit for the Saints. But this group is shorter on now than it is on later, and that’s a troubling sign. Stills has enough talent that he could end up looking like a steal, considering the personnel he has to work with.
Long-term prospects: With Sean Payton back on the sidelines and Brees under center, there’s a floor on how bad the Saints are going to be. But many of the issues they walked into the draft with still exist. Armstead’s talented enough that me might be a starting left tackle, and if he delivers on that, getting him in the third is a coup. They addressed some needs on defense in free agency, but again, it wasn’t going to be possible to check off all the boxes.