The New Orleans Saints ended up making five picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, getting some improvements from the start and some development prospects that they hope to impress later. So, how well does the group come out in its entirety?
McCoy is an instant impact player who should be the starter of Week 1, helping the Saints to a perfect Max Unger transition. McCoy may even be an improvement; he does not have the collection of injuries in the lower body that forced Unger to early retirement, which limited his game and could introduce some new schematic wrinkles with his athletic ability. There will be some growing pains as with any rookie released in the starting lineup, but the vision of how McCoy fits into the offense and what he can do is excellent. Grade A
This selection initially felt skeptical; Did the saints really need another security? But after reviewing Gardner-Johnson's high level of play for the Gators, this could be a hard-nosed choice. It is a legitimate threat to intercept the ball every time you are on the field. And it's not the same kind of security that the Saints already had: Gardner-Johnson specializes in defending the slot, fighting through the blocking receivers and tackling with a head full of steam. Think of him more as a slot player, like Patrick Robinson and P.J. Williams. Grade A
Now, this selection feels a bit strange. Hampton will compete for snapshots with substitutes Chris Banjo (an established cornerstone of the special teams units) and J.T. Gray (a reserve who spent much of last season in the practice squad). He showed some skills with the ball in his last year at Rutgers, but otherwise he was just a guy with the defense throughout his career. You will have to prove that you can be a great badet in special teams to form the team. Grade: C
This was an exciting selection. Mack was the first tight end in the recruiting clbad of 2015, but never reached Notre Dame. There were stretches in which he dressed for games, but he was not allowed to play after weeks of quiet practice. Now he's in New Orleans, playing with the quarterback and the coach who made Jimmy Graham a legend. It is very likely that Graham was the player that Mack remembered in his high school days. He is very motivated to succeed and has all the physical tools in the world to do it. You just want me to be a little more prepared for the NFL. Grade B
Elliss remembers another super-productive and highly productive college linebacker the Saints selected from a smaller program: Davis Tull, a stallion at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. Tull injured his shoulder in his rookie year and never recovered, and left the NFL a few years later. Hopefully Elliss has a better career and puts his physical skills to good use. He has all the athletics in the world and a wall full of skins behind him. The only question is how well he will handle a bigger scenario than he saw at the Big Sky Conference and, before that, the Sun Belt. Grade B
The Saints did not address their main needs (wide receiver and defensive tackle), which can be widely perceived, in the draft, which may explain how strongly they feel about their options in the company. Either way, they are moving away from this year's draft with at least two immediate contributors and some potential backers they can rely on. At first glance, the 2019 draft looks much stronger than the group the Saints chose in 2018. Grade: B +