Potential Saints draft targets at quarterback
Are the New Orleans Saints in the market for a quarterback? My answer is yes.
I will go as far to say it is a virtual certainty that the Black and Gold will be adding another QB in the foreseeable future. The most likely scenario would be during the upcoming NFL Draft, if not following the draft with a veteran free agent or undrafted one.
The Saints are almost certain to miss out on the top five quarterback prospects in this year’s draft. All of them appear destined for the top half of the first round (if not all in the top 10) while New Orleans has a late first rounder (No. 28 overall).
Without the 30 allotted visits for draft prospects, teams will be forced to rely more on information from college staffs.
Here are some names to consider. All have some warts.
-Kyle Trask (6-5, 240) Florida
His is a name which keeps coming up. He is projected to be a third or fourth round pick. Some liken him to a Philip Rivers. He was the high school backup at Manvel High School to former D’Eriq King, currently the starter for the Miami Hurricanes. Good accuracy, pocket presence, vision and arm strength are his calling cards. His ball placement impresses scouts. Trask feels and adjusts to pressure well. He is a pure pocket passer who brings little to no mobility but his has traits to be at least a quality pro backup.
-Kellen Mond (6-3, 217, 4.57) Texas A&M
A 4th or 5th round projection, the four-year starter for the Aggies is more of a game manager despite his arm strength and overall athleticism. Some rank him as the fourth best QB in this draft. Very athletic, Mond runs will. He makes tight window throws with a quick release and compact throwing motion. Mond had good chemistry with receivers during Senior Bowl week and played well in the game itself. His shortcomings include his first read decisions and failure to consistently survey the field while reading coverages. Mond needs more consistency. Can he be coached up further?
– Davis Mills (6-4, 225) Stanford
The product of Norcross, Ga. has an NFL arm and deceptively good athleticism (4.58 40-time at his Pro Day) with good size. Like Trasks, his placement on throws impresses scouts. Mills makes good decisions with the ball. Most have him as a fifth to sixth rounder but he could sneak into day two. He throws the ball well and with plus arm strength. Mills can evade pass rush though not a true running threat. Developmental prospect could have returned to Stanford for ’21 but an NFL team will take a flier on the former five-star recruit who appears to have overcome two different knee injuries and has all the tools to be an elite pocket passer.
-Jamie Newman (6-3, 215) Wake Forest/Georgia
The grad transfer to Georgia in 2020 opted out of the season. While at Wake Forest in 2019, he threw for 2,868 yards, 26 touchdowns and 11 interceptions with 61% completions. He ran for 574 yards and six scores. A late day two or day three draft option, Newman may have been as high as a first rounder if he had played well for the Bulldogs. He throws catchable passes. At times he will stare down receiver. A hot and cold Senior Bowl week may have only raised more questions about how far Newman has to go to make it in the NFL.
-Shane Buechele (6-1, 207) SMU
The son of former MLB player and coach Steve Buechele began college football journey at Texas where he started as true freshman but lost the job to Sam Ehlinger. A late day three draft pick, Shane is considered a great teammate. He shows accuracy over the middle, and he can air it out. Scouts believe he reads defenses well. Not a serious runner, Buechele made the most of his 23 games at SMU (7,024 passing yards, 57 TD’s, 16 interceptions, 64% completions). Some prefer Buechele over Newman, Ehlinger and Feleipe Franks.
-Ian Book (6-0, 210) Notre Dame
the three-year starter for Irish is a day three choice. In 2015, he was headed to Washington State to play for Mike Leach. He instead became a consistent winner in South Bend. Very instinctive, Book brings some dual threat talent and extends plays with his feet. He makes some tight window throws despite the lack of a super arm strength. Future NFL backup may be his ultimate role but Book could just as easily land in the perfect spot and ultimately flourish.
-Brady White (6-2, 215) Memphis
Another late round option, the transfer from Arizona State is a good rhythm passer. Like a point guard in basketball, White operates the offense and spreads the ball around well. The top passer in the AAC throughout his career in Memphis (10,690 passing yards, 90 touchdowns), White can extend plays. He needs work on mechanics.
-Sam Ehlinger (6-2, 225) Texas
Another potential late round projection, the 2015 Texas Prep Player of the Year at Westlake (same high school that produced Drew Brees and high character prospect. Twice the Longhorns’ team captain and a three-time All Academic Big 12 choice, Ehlinger brings proven leadership and toughness with above average athleticism to the position. He is not a top shelf thrower and has room to fine tune his mechanics. He has a good understanding of coverages. It wouldn’t shock me if somehow landed in Saints’ camp.
-Zach Smith (6-4, 227) Tulsa
He began career at Baylor where he made 10 starts in two seasons. Smith has been productive in a spread offense (in 2020, 1,947 yards passing, 13 TD’s, 10 INTs). H has an Ideal body and arm strength for the NFL, capable of laser-like throws and accurate deep throws. Smith plays through injuries. A late round projection, he brings developmental qualities coaches like.
-Feleipe Franks (6-6, 235) Arkansas
The one-time pledge to LSU transferred from Florida to Arkansas. He has great size but still needs polish on his mechanics. The classic pocket passer can make all the throws if kept clean in the pocket but he can also move a little bit. He understands protections and coverages well pre-snap. He impressed at times last season in Fayetteville, totaling 2017 yards, 17 TD’s and just four interceptions with a 68.5% completion rate. Franks has room for growth as an NFL developmental QB who should be drafted.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to be a member of the LSU football program, developing a passion for the game in even…