Re-sign your franchise and future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback (Drew Brees signs a 2 year, $50 million deal). Check.
Sign a safety to "replace" the departed Kenny Vaccaro (signs Panthers safety Kurt Coleman). Check.
Get a fast linebacker with good coverage skills (signs Jets LB Demario Davis). Check.
Get a "slot" corneback (signs Eagles CB Patrick Robinson). Another check.
Get a back-up QB to "replace" the departed Chase Daniel (signs Texans back-up QB Tom Savage). Check.
Get a versatile O-Lineman (that can play both the guard and tackle positions) to "replace" the departed Senio Kelemete (signs Dolphins guard Jermon Bushrod). Give that one a check.
A strongside defensive end on the opposite side of the D-Line to complement Cam Jordan (Alex Okafor re-signs for 2 more years). One more check.
All in all, it's been a very solid if not spectacular 2018 NFL Free Agency "haul" for the New Orleans Saints so far, as the team has gone out and now addressed every nearly level of team "need" — especially on the defensive side of the football — within the first 3 "official" days of the signing period that began on Wednesday.
The only position of "need" that has still yet to be addressed is at the "slot" position on offense (TE/WR).
And as a direct result of that, it means the Saints have now put themselves in a spot where they aren't forced to target a specific "need" with their first pick in next month's 2018 NFL Draft (April 26th-28th in Dallas).
Instead, the Saints' solid showing in Free Agency should not only should allow them to "keep pace" with their fellow Playoff teams within the NFC (most of whom have upgraded their teams as well), but also will giver them the freedom to select the proverbial BPA ("best player available") with the #27 overall pick.
As noted by Canal Street Chronicles NFL Draft expert / scout and football analyst Walter "Deuce" Windham: New Orleans has gone out and done everything they can, to not be in a position where they have to find starters in the draft.
The only position of need that has still yet to be addressed is the slot (TE/WR). New Orleans doing everything they can to not be in a position where they have to find starters in the draft.
— Deuce Windham (@RevDeuceWindham) March 16, 2018
Meaning that the Saints front office brass more than likely will now be able to simply take the highest-rated player on their board at that time.
Who might that player be?
There are a handful of candidates at the moment, most of whom are expected to "probably" still be on the Draft Board once the Saints' turn to pick (assuming they don't make any trades to move up or down from that spot).
One of the more popular names at the moment is Penn State University tight end Mike Gesicki; who is coming off of a very impressive performance at the NFL Scouting Combine 2 weeks ago; and who's freakish blend of size and athleticism has drawn comparisons to a younger version of newly-signed Green Bay Packers tight end (and former Saint) Jimmy Graham.
Or perhaps it could be another linebacker, such as Alabama's Rashaan Evans or Leighton Vander Esch.
An offensive guard, such as Georgia'a Isaiah Wynn or UTEP's Will Hernanadez.
A defensive end / EDGE pass rusher such as Boston College's Harold Landry or Ohio State's Sam Hubbard.
And then of course there's the wide receiver position, where players such as Texas A&M's Christian Kirk or Oklahoma State's James Washington, Jr. could still be there for the taking.
That's not to mention University of Maryland star D.J. Moore — who would fit PERFECTLY for New Orleans at the slot WR position and who completely "wowed" everyone with his outstanding receiver skills recently which have drawn comparisons to recently retired and now former Carolina Panthers and Baltimore Ravens superstar WR Steve Smith — and is another player considered a 'favorite" among many Saints fans.
Beginning some time next week once the "first wave" of Free Agency has ended (which will happen for New Orleans after they find out if they've won the "Ndamukong Suh Sweepstakes" or not), we'll begin a series here at Saints News Network that will focus specifically on all of the likely candidates to be the Saints' top pick at #27 overall.
That will be in addition to our regular 2018 NFL Draft player profiles, of likely targets for New Orleans in Rounds 3 thru 7 (remember: the Saints don't have a 2nd Round pick, which they traded away in last year's 2017 NFL Draft to move up and select RB Alvin Kamara).