Sometimes in life the most important things you accomplish are boring and occasionally annoying. Like doing your taxes, washing your infant kid's bottles before you go to bed, or brushing your teeth so your breath doesn't smell like unwashed socks when you go to work. The New Orleans Saints need to have a boring and occasionally annoying 2016 NFL Draft.
There is nothing more exciting on draft day than a team making a blockbuster trade to move up to take the player who will change EVERYTHING! Hollywood even made a very terrible Kevin Costner movie about trading up in the NFL Draft. They called it 'Draft Day'. Very original.
Everyone laughs at Mike Ditka trading away the entire 1999 Saints draft to acquire Ricky Williams now, but let me tell you something, in the moment when the Saints actually pulled off that crazy, ridiculous, insane, and stupid trade, it was awesome. Don't let anyone tell you different. Was it a bad idea? The worst. Was Mike Ditka nuts? Like a can of Planters. But damn if watching the Saints actually high dive off a cliff wasn't fantastic fun. It's never the fall that kills you, it's the stopping.
The 2016 Saints, just like the 1999 Saints, are not one player away from being a contender. Repeat after me, “There is no player in the 2016 NFL Draft the Saints should trade up for.” Not Joey Bosa, not Shaq Lawson, or a clone of 23-year-old Ricky Jackson some scientist may have created in a lab.
Some of you are probably thinking, “But player X is the next JJ Watt and he will transform the Saints.” Here is my question to you, “What if the Saints trade up for a player and he's a flop? What then?” The Saints only have 6 draft choices and if they move up into the top 10, they will have to give up at least one and more likely two draft choices. The Saints need more draft picks in 2016, not less.
While seeing the Saints trade up in the draft is exciting, seeing them trade down is a buzz kill, even if it's the right thing to do. There is nothing more annoying than waiting two hours for the Saints to select and suddenly they've traded down 10 spots and we have to wait two more hours to find out who they pick. Sure those extra picks are nice, but now we have to listen to Chris Berman for even longer! Torture I tell you.
It is exactly what the Saints need to do though.
The Saints have huge holes at guard, defensive end, defensive tackle, not to mention depth issues at corner, safety, wide receiver. New flash: They aren't filling all of those needs with six selections. No team finds a good player with every pick. So you know what the solution is? Get more picks.
Last year, Saints did manage to mostly restrain themselves from their constant urge to make very aggressive moves during the draft. They did trade up to acquire Damian Swann, hence why they only have six picks this year instead of seven.
So what will the Saints do? Let's break down the possible outcomes....
You thought the Saints not having much cap space and mostly shopping at the discount store in free agency meant they had changed their ultra-aggressive ways didn't you? LOLZ.
The Saints tried to sign Carolina free agent cornerback Josh Norman last Friday, and would have done it by extending Drew Brees’ contract or at least altering it. How were they going sign Norman with like $9 of cap space?
I'm not a salary cap wizard like Mikey Loomis so I have no idea.
Leave aside for a moment if signing Norman was a good idea, and let your mind contemplate if the Saints had pulled off the double signing of Norman/Brees. They'd have probably handed out close to $80 million in guaranteed money last Friday. The howling of the national media saying the Saints had lost their minds would have been SPECTACULAR. I really wish they had done it just because Josh Norman is the goofiest, funniest, superhero loving corner on earth. The guy arrives at the stadium for games as Batman. In character. It was annoying when he was in Carolina, but as a Saint? Just a guy having fun.
I'm hypocritical about how I feel about players depending on if they do or do not play for the Saints. What of it?
Everyone is missing the point of the Saints going hard after Norman. Some fans believe it means the Saints think they really need a corner, but I don't think it signals that. What it does signal is the Saints haven't changed their aggressive, go for broke, go hard after players they fall in love with style.
If the Saints will go chase Josh Norman with no cap room, they are capable of anything during the draft. If a player they love falls to six or seven come Thursday night, they won't hesitate to move. I hope they don't but history says otherwise.
The Saints don't trade down in the first round under Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis, so even though I'm hoping for it because they have so many needs to fill, I won't be holding my breath. If I'm right and three quarterbacks go in the top 10, then that means it's likely a very highly rated defensive player falls to the Saints at #12. If Myles Jack or DeForest Buckner falls to the Saints, the fear of trading down and missing on a highly-rated player may be too strong, no matter what a team offers in return.
Crazy Insanity Happens—10%
Would the Saints move down from #12 to #20 with the Jets and acquire defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, then give him a $90 million extension? They've acquired veterans during the draft before. Likely? No, but these are the Saints and they love to go all in. It's who they are. We might call it reckless, they say it's betting on a short and injured quarterback in 2006, then going to the window and collecting their winnings.
Also keep an eye on Joey Bosa. If he falls to bottom half of top 10, he seems like a guy the Saints would love to trade up for.
Another crazy possibility? The Saints take quarterback Paxton Lynch at #12 and either trade or don't extend Drew Brees. If the Saints take a quarterback at #12, my draft recap column will be nothing but GIFS of people banging their heads against walls and sad kittens.
Make pick at #12—40%
Odds are the Saints stay at 12 and make a pick. The question I keep wondering is “How do they feel about linebacker Myles Jack?” Jack is a fantastic outside linebacker, who can cover tight ends and run sideline to sideline. If there weren't questions about his knee, he'd probably be a top 5 pick. Jack's injury isn't career threatening, but when it's your job to tackle other giant men, NFL teams worry.
I think Jack is going to be there when Saints pick and I also think it's possible the Saints spread rumors Jack's leg fell off yesterday. Have you seen Jack lately? Does he have two legs? I'm predicting Myles Jack is the Saints pick, and I didn't even make you scroll through a mock draft to find out, because I'm such a nice guy.
With the Pelicans being terrible, it's been a long sports winter for New Orleans sports fans, but the NFL Draft has arrived, and if last Friday is any indication, the Saints are looking to get a little crazy but I kind of hope they don't.
Ralph Malbrough is a Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, find him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SaintsForecast or download his podcast at Itunes.