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2018 NFL Draft

If Saints Want a 3rd Straight “Grand Slam” Draft, Trading BACK Could Be the Way to Go

The 2018 NFL Draft is only 2 more weeks away; and with that in mind, it's the time of the year where rumors of teams seeking to trade up to select a player that they so desperately want to get, are being talked about non-stop.

For the New Orleans Saints however, the rumors of them allegedly seeking to "trade up" into the Top 5 picks in an effort to select University of Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield is nothing more than just that: an unsubstantiated rumor.

But even if Saints head coach is reportedly "smitten" with the idea of having Mayfield as his next starting QB after Drew Brees retires, avoiding such a bold move and not having to surrender a ton of draft capital in order to get him into the fold, would seem to be advisable at best.

Photo courtesy of The Oklahoma University Daily

Why is that you ask?

Simply because with the Saints picking way down in the draft order this year (#27 overall) thanks to last season's success that saw them win the 2017 NFC South Division Championship, there likely won't be a player that can come in and make as much of an "immediate impact", as they've been able to do in the past 2 drafts in 2016 and then again last year.

Saints general manager Mickey Loomis and Director of College Scouting Jeff Ireland have very notably put together back-to-back "grand slam" drafts, first snagging starters Sheldon RankinsMichael Thomas, and Vonn Bell in 2016; and then in last year's draft got not one but TWO players that went on to win Rookie of the Year awards (Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore) along with two more new starters in Ryan Ramczyk and Marcus Williams.

But...

Each time the Saints were picking within the Top 15, and they had a 2nd round pick both years.

This year will obviously be different, since the Saints are picking near the bottom of Round 1, and without a 2nd Round pick — which they surrendered to the San Francisco 49ers last year to move up back into Round 3 to grab Kamara.

Photo courtesy of Michael C. Hebert

With a late 1st Round pick and no 2nd Rounder this year, the likelihood that New Orleans has a 3rd straight "Grand Slam" draft would seem pretty unlikely at this point. But given Ireland's propensity for "hitting" on his picks for the past 2 years, here's another option the Saints should give some very serious consideration to: 

Trading BACK.

For a team that has relied as much on the NFL Draft for their most recent success, it would seem logical as well as very practical, for the team to try and acquire more additional draft picks to put along with the total of 8 that they'll have in two more weeks from now.

In only 2 years time, the New Orleans Saints have gone from the League's bottom half, to one of its Top 5 teams (only 10 seconds away from the NFC Championship Game). And if they wish to continue building upon that success, than trading BACK this year may be the way to go.

Photo courtesy of Michael C. Hebert

With the team's recent signings in Free Agency particularly on the defensive side of the football (Demario Davis, Patrick Robinson), the impetus for the team to use this year's draft to further surround Brees with additional weapons on offense, would seem rather apparent.

And while the team is just as likely to stay put at #27 and grab whoever the "best player available" is at that time, there are a handful of talented players who likely will still be available in the early part of Round 2, thanks to the expected "run" on QB's that's likely to occur in Round 1.

Meaning that if the Saints were to trade back, they could gain an additional pick (or two) within the range of that early to mid part of Round 2.

There are currently 3 teams that as of this very moment, the Saints should at least consider the option of trading down with: the Cleveland Browns, the Indianapolis Colts, and the Buffalo Bills.

Both the Browns and the Colts have 3 total picks in the 2nd round, and Buffalo has 2 picks.

Photo courtesy of The Cleveland Plain-Dealer

All three teams could be approached by Loomis, who could get one of the other 3 GM's (Cleveland GM John Dorsey, Colts GM Chris Ballard, and Bills GM Brandon Beane) to at least entertain the idea of giving away not one but two 2nd round picks, in exchange for the Saints' 1st Round pick at #27, along with their 4th round pick (#121 overall) and either one of their two 5th round picks (#147 and #165 overall, respectively).

But of course, getting any of those 3 GM's to willingly accept such an offer, is the whole trick to pulling it off.

But just imagine if the Saints are fortunate enough to make it happen, the idea of the Saints getting not one but two more players that could become starters with back-to-back picks in the early half of Round 2, such as putting Maryland WR D.J. Moore and Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki together in the same offense as rookies, alongside Brees, Kamara, Ingram, Thomas, and newly-signed Cam Meredith.

Photo courtesy of John Oehser

The possibilities are both limitless and certainly very intriguing.

And all the more reason to entertain the idea.

The bottom line is that the New Orleans Saints owe much of their success to the fact that they've been able to have back-to-back overwhelmingly successful (or "Grand Slam") drafts in 2016 and 2017.

If the Saints would like to have a 3rd straight "Grand Slam" draft in 2018, then trading BACK could be the way to go.......

Saints News Network Editor / Featured Columnist and Lead Analyst Barry Hirstius is a 50-year old semi-retired journalist and former New Orleans area sports editor and columnist previously with several sites that exclusively cover the New Orleans Saints NFL football team. Additionally, he is a frequent guest on a variety of Sports Talk Radio programs that cover the Saints. Barry is also a New Orleans native that dating all the way back to his childhood in the early 1970's, attended games at the old Tulane Stadium and grew up as a long-time Saints fan; following and now covering the team for a span of over 40 plus years. And perhaps most importantly of all: he is the Grandfather of two beautiful young girls, Jasmine and Serenity.......

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