NFL Draft: Saints may still be likely to pick wide receiver first despite Sanders signing

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Justin Jefferson
(Photo: Jonathan Mailhes)

Proven veteran Emmanuel Sanders is a great addition but I still think the New Orleans Saints need to take the best player in round one of the 2020 draft. And that prospect will probably be another wide receiver.

There’s no doubt that Wide receiver is by far the deepest position in the 2020 draft.

Sanders is a solid receiver who really hurt the Saints while playing for the 49ers but he is 33 years old. New Orleans still needs a young receiver.

Someone who has constantly evolved as a pro, Sanders ran a 4.41 at the combine in 2010 before he was drafted in round three by the Steelers. I don’t think he has lost much speed so he may very well replace speed receiver Ted Ginn Jr. who is 35 years old.

As for who makes sense in the first round and has the potential to be available at No. 24 overall, we start with a hometown talent.

Justin Jefferson out of Destrehan and LSU is a talented receiver who was very productive this past season against a brutal schedule, scoring 18 touchdowns. He proved at the combine that he has speed and is already proven to produce in contested ball situations. Jefferson has good body control to adjust to back-shoulder throws which has long been staples of the Saints offense.

If Jefferson doesn’t make it to No. 24, a less-mentioned named to watch is Brandon Alyuk of Arizona State. He is a player who will had a good week at the Senior Bowl. A slot receiver with good hands like Alyuk can help an offense move the chains more consistently.

If a safety like LSU’s Grant Delpit should slide as some analyst are saying, I think the Saints should jump on him. I think he is an elite player who really attacks downhill against the run but is versatile. Delpit is effective playing in both zone and man pass coverage. With the likely departure of Vonn Bell, selecting Delpit helps shore up the secondary with another young piece added to last year’s solid choice of CJ Gardner-Johnson.

With the many injuries to left tackle Terron Armstead and left guard Andrus Peat, I also think it would help to select a versatile offensive lineman in round three. That guy could be Robert Hunt, a 6-foot-5, 310 pounder from Louisiana Lafayette. He has lined up at both tackle and guard, has the power to move defenders in the run game and plays with a mean streak. A nasty prospect who plays hard and finishes blocks to the ground, Hunt gives great effort until the final whistle.

I am very surprised by the early NFL trades which usually don’t happen until draft day. Teams are giving up high draft picks for good players. But these trades were made in the first two days of free agency this year.

The Colts traded the No. 13 overall pick to the 49ers for defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. The Bills shipped the No. 22 first round pick to the Vikings for receiver Stefon Diggs. The Cardinals traded the 40th pick to the Texans in the package for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. The Falcons traded their second rounder for tight end Hayden Hurst. The Eagles dealt the a late third rounder to the Lions for cornerback Darius Slay. There were other lower round picks given up in trades as well.

Perhaps the contact restrictions before the draft related to the virus pandemic have made known commodities (veterans) even more valuable to clubs than usual.

However, the draft is still the best way to build a long term winner.

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