The New Orleans Saints have been talked about as a potential trade-up candidate leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft Thursday evening. New Orleans is slated to select 28th overall in the first round. It is also high on the top quarterbacks in the class and needs help at cornerback.
According to this note from Garland Gillen of Fox 8 in New Orleans, the Saints could very well trade a starter off their current roster in order to move up for a target player. Below, we look at three ideal scenarios.
New Orleans Saints trade Ryan Ramczyk
One of the top right tackles in the NFL, this former first-round pick is set to count north of $11 million against the cap in 2021. He’s also slated to hit the free agent market next March. Not in a great salary cap situation, it might make sense for the Saints to move him now while relying on either a veteran free agent or James Hurst to hold down the fort opposite Terron Armstead.
Perhaps, a team like the Los Angeles Chargers could come calling. They have a need at left tackle in front of franchise quarterback Justin Herbert. Trading down from 13 to 28 might be able to net them Ramczyk. As for the Saints, cornerbacks Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn would be the targets here.
New Orleans Saints trade Marshon Lattimore
This would seem to run contrary to the belief that New Orleans needs help at cornerback. A former NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Lattimore is the team’s only starter-caliber boundary cover guy. Even then, a recent arrest on gun charges coupled with his status as a free agent next offseason could force the Saints’ hands here.
The 24-year-old corner remains one of the best cover guys in the entire NFL. He’d be of interest to multiple teams out there and would net a huge return. A cornerback-needy team like the Dallas Cowboys could make sense with the 10th pick. In turn, the Saints move up less than 20 spots to add a potential franchise quarterback in Trey Lance, Justin Fields or Mac Jones. They then sign veteran free agent Richard Sherman as a stopgap option at corner.
New Orleans Saints trade Michael Thomas
It was noted a season ago that Thomas and the Saints were not in the best of places. He was suspended for a game for violating team rules, struggled through an injury-plagued campaign and simply did not look like the player who was breaking records in New Orleans the year prior.
The Saints’ offense under Sean Payton has never been predicated on star receivers. Even with Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill slated to compete for the starting job, that remains unchanged. A trade of Thomas would also net New Orleans a first-round pick and change without having to give up its 28th pick. The New England Patriots (15th), Las Vegas Raiders (17th) and Miami Dolphins (18th) could make sense.