After the Saints landed former New York Giants CB Eli Apple in a trade earlier this week to upgrade their defensive secondary, their current roster is now likely “set” for the rest of the 2018 Regular Season.
And now that New Orleans no longer has their their 1st, 3rd and 4th-round picks in next year’s 2019 NFL Draft, they’re now likely OUT of the trade market unless they are willing to risk using their 2nd-round pick as well.
However — the possibility that the Saints could always actually consider adding another young player under the age of 25 that could be available at a reasonable asking price or “good value” just like Apple was, still exists if they want to explore the option.
With that in mind, here are a few more “good value” players that the Saints should consider, before next Tuesday’s NFL Trade Deadline (October 30th)……
HAASON REDDICK, “HYBRID” DEFENSIVE END / LINEBACKER, ARIZONA CARDINALS
Given that the Saints could always use some additional speed, athleticism and depth for their currently 27th ranked pass rush on defense, former Temple University star Haason Reddick is a player that New Orleans should at least take a look at.
Originally taken by Arizona with the 13th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Reddick is still only just 24 years old, possesses a ton of upside and potentially still can eventually blossom into a future NFL star.
He can play every linebacker position and rush the passer, and he would give Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen a “chess piece” at the second level as a situational pass rusher, a hybrid linebacker in the middle of the defense or perhaps even as a full-time edge rusher, thanks to his notable versatility.
Reddick is expendable essentially because he isn’t a fit in new head coach Steve Wilks‘ system; and the Cardinals are wasting his pass-rush ability on the Arizona bench. This season Reddick’s basically been playing out of position at weakside linebacker; after having shown himself to be more of a pure pass-rush threat as a rookie last year in 2017.
During his rookie season, the edge rusher had a combined 36 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. He also started three of the 16 games he played. Reddick burst onto the scene at Temple and managed 22.5 tackles for a loss and 10.5 sacks in 14 games as a senior.
He carried hype into the 2017 Senior Bowl, where he impressed NFL scouts and boosted his draft stock enough to be selected in the top half of the 1st Round.
Getting a chance in a brand new defensive scheme would allow the Cardinals could cut their losses, while the Saints could land a player on another rookie contract while adding another pass rusher to the mix.
Reddick’s rookie deal is a reasonable one; given that he’s signed through 2020 and comes with a fifth-year option in 2021, while his cap hit is just $3.1 million this year. Depending on just how badly Wilks and Arizona GM Steve Keim are willing to go to move Reddick, a 2nd Round pick on a player with the unlimited potential to even further upgrade the Saints at-times shaky defense, is an option worth exploring.
KARL JOSEPH, SAFETY, OAKLAND RAIDERS
To be perfectly honest: the Saints secondary could probably still use additional help on the back end in terms of depth and a guy who can be a bigger upgrade at the safety position over veteran Kurt Coleman; who hasn’t always looked all that great after he was signed by New Orleans this past off-season after his first years spent playing for the Carolina Panthers.
And 2nd year Oakland Raiders safety Karl Joseph might be the perfect candidate.
A former second-team All-American and 1st-round pick who had a nation-wide reputation as a hard-hitting “thumper” coming out of the University of West Virginia, Joseph was actually even being compared to former NFL All-Pro safeties Earl Thomas and Bob Sanders during his time with the Mountaineers.
Joseph was considered a virtual “ball-hawk” by NFL scouts who felt that his range and versatility would allow him to excel at the professional level.
But he has since fallen out of favor with current coach Jon Gruden; who continues to dismantle the Raiders organization and reshape it into his own image by getting rid of the players he feels doesn’t fit into their future plans.
Gruden and Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther have regulated Joseph to a reserve role this season; and he’s only played 11 snaps total so far. He has yet to record a tackle. Joseph has produced 139 tackles, 10 pass breakups and two interceptions during his 3-year NFL career.
Joseph is still playing on his rookie contract as well, and he very likely wouldn’t cost all that much to pry away from the Raiders and Gruden (who as Saints fans are aware is still a close pal of Saints head coach Sean Payton); since Oakland still is in the midst of their franchise’s “fire sale”.
Joseph will have one year remaining on his contract after this season, giving the Saints an opportunity to even re-sign him to a much longer-term deal at a cheaper salary.
Joseph is only making $1.53 million this season and $2.07 million next year — which would allow GM Mickey Loomis to do some creative cost-saving measures to bring Joseph to NOLA and solidify the Saints secondary,
JOSHUA GARNETT, OFFENSIVE GUARD, SAN FRANCISCO 49ers
The Saints could be in the market for additional depth for their O-Line, after veteran Josh LeRiebus was lost for the remainder of the season this past week after injuring his ankle in the win over Baltimore.
The Saints placed LeRiebus on injured reserve yesterday and brought in former Cowboys 3rd Round pick Chaz Green; and also brought back former 2016 UDFA Landon Turner to their Practice Squad.
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) October 24, 2018
However, one intriguing option that the Saints possibly could consider is former Stanford University All-American and current 24-year old San Francisco 49ers offensive guard Joshua Garnett.
Originally taken with the 28th overall selection of the 2016 NFL Draft, San Francisco traded the 37th, 105th, and 178th overall picks just so that they could get back into the first round to draft Garnett.
They immediately placed him into the starting lineup for 11 games as a rookie in 2016; but he’s only played in one game since; and has missed most of this season thus far mainly because of a dislocated toe.
Last year, Garnett ended up missing all of 2017 after a knee injury in Training Camp; but coming into this off-season was thought to be ready to regain his starting role within brand new San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan‘s offense — which had led Shanahan at one point to even tell the local Bay Area media just how impressed he was with Garnett’s performance this past Summer.
But the 24-year old Garnett has only been active for one game this season after suffering that previously-mentioned toe injury in the 49ers’ Week #1 loss against Minnesota; and despite being a full participant in recent practices, Shanahan has left Garnett remain inactive on Game Days while they go with former veteran back-up Mike Person as the starter at right guard, instead.
The biggest knock up to this point for Garnett obviously has been that he’s seemed to be somewhat injury-prone, but many observers truly believe that he could seriously benefit from a “change of scenery”.
Given that his trade value is probably only a mid-to-late round pick at this point, the Saints would be smart to at least give some thought about bringing a former consensus All-American into the fold, to boost their O-Line depth and more importantly: add another young player to their roster for the future of the franchise, at a “good value”….