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Hubbard’s mock draft 2.0: Saints go defense early

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By: Luke Hubbard

Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans surprises some people with their first pick.

The first time around, I did a New Orleans Saints mock draft with no trades, but we all know Mickey Loomis is going to have his finger on the trigger, waiting for the right time to move up in the draft, so I decided to incorporate trades in my mock draft 2.0.

In this mock draft…

Round 1, Pick 14 – Terrion Arnold, CB

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Ideally, with the players who were left on the board at 14, I would’ve traded down to acquire more draft capital, but we all know that’s never going to happen with Mickey Loomis as GM, so I stayed put and drafted Terrion Arnold, cornerback from Alabama.

With some of the top tackles and edge rushers off the board already and a Marshon Lattimore trade potentially in the works, I have the Saints going out and finding their new CB1.

Arnold has started 21 out of 23 games the last two seasons and has been a beast for the Tide. In 15 games this season, Arnold allowed 51.9% of his targets to be caught for 441 yards (29.4 per game) and two touchdowns while picking off five passes and breaking up an additional 13.

His athleticism isn’t going to blow you off the page; he ran a 4.5 40-yard dash and recorded a 37-inch vertical, but just put on his tape and watch him play and you’ll see why he’s a first-round talent.

Round 2, Pick 45 – Braden Fiske, DI

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With the 45th overall pick, I drafted someone that’s been a rapid riser on a lot of teams big boards, Florida State DI, Braden Fiske.

Fiske absolutely tore up the NFL Combine. His athleticism grade of 87 ranked first among DI’s and he earned a 9.89 Relative Athletic Score. He ran a 4.78 40 while recording a 33.5-inch vertical and a 9’9” broad jump.

Fiske transferred to FSU last season after four years at Western Michigan, and he made the most out of his one-year in the ACC. From the interior of the D-line, Fiske recorded 28 pressures, six sacks and 19 hurries.

By the time the draft rolls around, I don’t know if Fiske will be here at 45, but if he is, I think the Saints need to take him to help beef up the defensive line.

TRADE: Round 3, Pick 100 – Blake Fisher, OT

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Here’s where I think Loomis finally pulls the trigger and moves up in the draft. After pick 45, the Saints don’t have another pick until the fifth round, but they have a lot of late round picks they could package to move up.

In this scenario, I have the Saints trading picks 150, 168 and 190 for pick 100 and a 2025 7th. The Saints desperately need a tackle, and I didn’t like any of the options further down the board, so I was willing to get rid of some picks to get a guy I like in Blake Fisher.

Fisher’s been a bit overshadowed because he played next to Joe Alt, but he was a solid tackle for the Fighting Irish during his tenure there. In three seasons, Fisher gave up 34 pressures and nine sacks. Out of those nine sacks, four of them came in two games, so outside of a couple bad games, he’s given up five sacks in 23 starts.

It’s hard to find a tackle with this much experience and one that’s played against the competition Fisher has late in the draft, so by moving up, the Saints get a proven guy and not another prospect who they’ll have to develop like Trevor Penning.

Round 5, Pick 170 – Jalen Green, Edge

Because of the trade, the Saints had to wait a while to get back on the clock at pick 170, but they find themselves a very talented edge rusher late in the draft.

Jalen Green played his college ball at James Madison, a team that just recently transitioned to the FBS level. Before 2023, Green hadn’t produced at the level of a future NFL player, but his 2023 season was enough to vault himself up some draft boards.

Last season, Green was the leader of the Duke’s defense. He totaled 15.5 sacks, 56 pressures and 34 hurries in just nine games. He recorded six multi-sack games as well as five games with eight or more pressures.

Round 5, Pick 175 – Jaheim Bell, TE

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With their next pick in the fifth round, I have the Saints selecting another Seminole, this time selecting TE Jaheim Bell.

Bell played four seasons of college ball, three with South Carolina and one with Florida State. Over those four seasons, Bell has amassed 1,255 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns with 503 of those yards and two of those TD’s coming last season.

As far as TE’s go, he’s a bit undersized, weighing in at 6-foot-3, 239-pounds, but he has great ball skills and can be a vertical threat. He ran a 4.61 40-yard dash with a 35-inch vertical at the NFL Combine, which earned him the sixth highest athleticism grade of all TE’s.

Round 6, Pick 199 – Jase McClellan, RB

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Jase McClellan has been a big part of Alabama’s backfield for a couple of years now. In the last two seasons, McClellan has totaled 1,545 yards and 15 touchdowns behind a 5.3-yard average while catching 29 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns.

With the running back room looking a bit suspect this season, the Saints could very well look to add another back through the draft, and McClellan has a lot of upside for a sixth-round draft pick.

Round 7, Pick 229 – Sam Hartman, QB

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At this point in the draft, you’re looking for experience and talent, and Sam Hartman has both. He’s played a lot of football in college and would be a great QB to bring in to compete with Nathan Peterman and Jake Haener.

While I don’t see him finding a starting role on the team, Hartman has thrown for 15,656 yards, 134 touchdowns and 49 interceptions in his career. He’s got a lot of experience, and at this point in the draft, it doesn’t hurt to bring a guy like that in.

Originally posted on Canal Street Chronicles – All Posts