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2 trade-up options for the New Orleans Saints in the 2021 NFL Draft

Vincent Frank

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The New Orleans Saints have two quarterbacks vying for the starting job in Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill following the retirement of future Hall of Famer Drew Brees.

With that said, both are likely going to be free agents following the 2021 season. Head coach Sean Payton is going to be looking for a quarterback of the future at some point here soon. It could potentially come during the 2021 NFL Draft later this month.

“I started thinking about this more when considering the Chiefs’ huge jump for Patrick Mahomes a few years ago (they went from No. 27 to No. 10). That worked out OK for them. I wonder if the Saints would do the same thing if there was a quarterback who was worth the risk of a future first-round pick,” Katherine Terrell of The Athletic noted recently. “I think the 2015 draft class showed us that a ton of picks isn’t automatically a good thing and it feels like they’ve been more aggressive in recent years, so at some point, they’ll make a move, I just don’t know if it’ll be early.”

Selecting 28th overall in the upcoming draft, the Saints are not in a great position to find a first-round talent at quarterback. That’s magnified with the first three picks all slated to be quarterbacks. Heck, there’s a darn good chance that five signal callers are selected in the top 10 with Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson expected to go one and two, respectively.

What does this mean for the Saints? Barring one of these quarterbacks dropping big time come draft day, New Orleans will likely have to move up to the top 10 for a quarterback. Here’s a look at two potential trade up options.

Read More: New Orleans Saints mock draft: Full 7-round 2021 NFL Draft projections

New Orleans Saints pull off massive trade with the division-rival Atlanta Falcons

New Orleans Saints draft Justin Fields
Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) walks off the field after losing to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
  • Saints get: Fourth pick in 2021 NFL Draft
  • Falcons get: 28th pick, second-round pick and third-round pick in 2021, first-round picks in 2022 and 2023, second-round picks in 2022 and 2024, Marshon Lattimore

Now, this would be the blockbuster to end all blockbusters. New Orleans moving up with a fierce division rival for a quarterback would cost an arm and a leg. In this scenario, the Saints send out seven draft picks and Pro Bowl cornerback Marshon Lattimore to a defense-starved Falcons team.

General manager Mickey Loomis and head coach Sean Payton would have to target a specific quarterback with the hopes the San Francisco 49ers don’t take him at three. Whether that would be Justin Fields, Trey Lance or Mac Jones remains to be seen. However, Fields would likely be the target here. He boasts the most upside of the group.

As for the Falcons, they start anew with a plethora of picks as well as one of the best young defensive backs in the NFL. That’s a major need for Atlanta after its defense yielded 34 passing touchdowns against 12 interceptions a season ago.

Read More: 2021 NFL mock draft: QBs dominate top-10 picks, surprise trades shake up 2021 NFL Draft

New Orleans Saints entice the Denver Broncos with Jameis Winston

New Orleans Saints draft Mac Jones
Jan 27, 2021; American quarterback Mac Jones of Alabama (10) throws during American practice at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, USA; Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
  • Saints get: Ninth pick in the 2021 NFL Draft
  • Broncos get: 28th pick, second-round pick, 2022 first-round pick, 2023 second-round pick, Jameis Winston

This was pretty much the bounty the Kansas City Chiefs paid to move up from the 27th pick to 10th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft for Patrick Mahomes. Whether the Broncos demand more in a hypothetical blockbuster trade remains to be seen.

What we do know is that Denver is still looking to settle its quarterback position with Drew Lock having struggled big time as a sophomore last season. First-year general manager George Paton is reportedly contemplating a trade up with the Falcons to the fourth pick. However, moving down and adding a potential starter in Jameis Winston as well as three valuable picks could make sense.

From the Saints’ perspective, the idea would be to start Taysom Hill in 2021 before an unnamed rookie takes over next season. In this scenario, the likely target quarterback would be Mac Jones.