(NEW ORLEANS) — Losing in the wildcard round to the Minnesota Vikings, the Saints are already looking forward to the 2020 season. The 2019 draft class performed beyond their expectations this year with second rounder Erik McCoy playing great as a center. Fourth rounder Chauncey Gardner-Johnson impressed spectators as a solid defensive back with extreme potential. The rest of the draft class consisted of Saquan Hampton, Alize Mack, and Kaden Eliss.
The Saints currently hold the 24th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. In most mock drafts, the Saints are projected to select Henry Ruggs from Alabama or Justin Jefferson from LSU. Both of these players are wide receivers, needed positions for the Saints. They are desperate for a second option behind Michael Thomas, who had a record breaking season and 55.3% of all Saints receptions. The Saints can certainly spread the ball out more with Henry Ruggs because of his 4.2 speed, making him a deep threat down the field.
With speculation over whether Drew Brees will retire, the Saints have a variety of moves to consider. Many experts claim that Brees should retire after his dreadful performance in the playoffs. If Brees does retire, the Saints have the option to trade up in the draft for a quarterback prospect. The Saints are also in need of some young defensive backs that can play alongside Marshon Lattimore and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. Prospects can vary from Trevon Diggs to Kristian Fulton. This draft class has potential to be one of the best in a while.
New Orleans is going to have many tough decisions this off season with 27 free agents, restricted and unrestricted. If the Saints do not end up drafting a quarterback within the first three rounds, they have many options in free agency. There are two unrestricted free agents at quarterback including Drew Brees and Teddy Bridgewater. The quarterback situation will be a crucial decision not only for the present, but for the future. The top free agents among the Saints roster are Drew Brees, Vonn Bell, A.J. Klein, Andrus Peat, and Eli Apple.
An important position that the Saints need to upgrade is their cornerbacks. They were certainly the weak link on the defense side of the ball despite an All-Pro corner, Marshon Lattimore. Some players the Saints can target are Chris Harris Jr, Logan Ryan, Trae Waynes, and Jimmy Smith, all unrestricted free agents. If the Saints do not acquire a promising wide receiver in the upcoming draft, they have talented options in free agency among Emmanuel Sanders, A.J. Green, Danny Amendola, and Robby Anderson. Free agency will have to be successful if New Orleans wants to be successful in 2020.