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New Orleans Saints mock draft 2023: Building for the now and later

The New Orleans Saints pulled off a blockbuster move for a quarterback in NFL free agency, adding four-time Pro Bowler Derek Carr to the mix.

This is the clearest indication yet that general manager Mickey Loomis and Co. are looking to build for the future. New Orleans decision to restructure multiple contracts added another layer to this.

The good news? Dennis Allen’s squad acquired a first-round pick from the Denver Broncos in the Sean Payton blockbuster. We fully expect the Saints to utilize that selection to the best of their ability, potentially moving out of the first round.

Before diving into our Saints mock draft, here’s a rundown of New Orleans’ draft picks and needs in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft.

Related: 2023 NFL mock draft

New Orleans Saints draft picks 2023

Here is the list of the New Orleans Saints’ draft picks in the 2023 NFL Draft.

  • Round 1, 29th overall
  • Round 2, 40th overall
  • Round 3, 71st overall
  • Round 4, 115th overall
  • Round 5, 146th overall
  • Round 5, 165th overall
  • Round 6, 227th overall
  • Round 7, 257th overall

New Orleans Saints draft needs 2023

  • Wide receiver
  • Tight end
  • Defensive end
  • Defensive tackle
  • Linebacker
  • Cornerback
  • Safety

Related: Ranking the top wide receivers in the 2023 NFL Draft

New Orleans Saints mock draft: Finding a happy medium

Sportsnaut used Pro Football Focus’ NFL Draft simulator, which provides the flexibility to trade and work through a variety of scenarios. Let’s dive into our Saints mock draft.

Round 2, 37th overall: Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina

new orleans saints mock draft, saints draft
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
  • Trade: New Orleans Saints move 29th pick to the Seahawks for 37th and 83rd picks

New Orleans moving out of the first round would be great from both a financial and team-building philosophy. Adding an additional pick indirectly from the Sean Payton trade brings this to a whole new level.

By moving down, the Saints are still able to add a first-round talent at a need position. At 5-foot-9, Downs is about as explosive as they get. He can make plays after the catch as evidenced by the wide receiver’s final two seasons with the Tar Heels.

Josh Downs stats (2021-22): 195 catches, 2,364 yards, 19 TD

Downs would be an absolutely stellar fit next to stud 2022 first-round pick Chris Olave for Derek Carr in New Orleans. While solely limited to the slot due to his size, this is a high-value pick at a position of need.

Round 2, 40th overall: Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE, Kansas State

new orleans saints draft, new orleans saints mock draft, felix anudike-uzomah
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The loss of underperforming edge rusher Marcus Davenport in NFL free agency sets the stage for Mickey Loomis to target this position early in the draft. What better option in Round 2 than a talented 252-pound edge guy from Manhattan?

Anudike-Uzomah recorded 25.5 tackles for loss and 19.5 sacks in his final two seasons with Kansas State. He boasts pro-ready pass rush moves, is extremely strong at the point of contact and displays tremendous flexibility out on the edge. In short, Anudike-Uzomah could make an immediate impact next to Cameron Jordan in the Bayou.

Related: Full 2023 NFL Draft order

Round 3, 71st overall: Garrett Williams, CB, Syracuse

new orleans saints mock draft, saints draft: felix anudike-uzomah
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans’ defense improved a great deal under Dennis Allen last season. In fact, it yielded just 17 passing touchdowns in as many games. The question here is two-fold. Who will step up behind Marshon Lattimore moving forward? There’s also some concern over Lattimore potentially regressing and his future in New Orleans.

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It’s in this that Williams would make sense as a scheme fit under Allen. He has an ability to play physical at the line and boasts a track record of success (two interceptions last season for Syracuse). Despite being largely avoided due to his coverage ability, Williams proved to be a ball hawk for the Orange. That should translate to the NFL level.

Related: Ranking the top running backs in the 2023 NFL Draft

Round 3, 83rd overall: Tank Bigsby, RB, Auburn

new orleans saints mock draft, saints draft: felix anudike-uzomah

With the selection acquired in the aforementioned hypothetical trade, New Orleans opts to go with a luxury pick. While Bigsby might not play a huge role for the Saints as a rookie due to the presence of Alvin Kamara and Jamaal Williams, he will be a future RB1. That’s especially true with Kamara’s future with the Saints in doubt.

One of the more productive collegiate running backs in the 2023 NFL Draft, Bigsby recorded north of 3,300 total yards and 25 touchdowns at Auburn. He also displayed an ability to catch the ball (30 receptions in 2022). A dynamic threat, this is a high-value pick for the Saints.

New Orleans Saints mock draft, full 7 rounds

  • Round 2, 37th overall: Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina
  • Round 2, 40th overall: Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE, Kansas State
  • Round 3, 71st overall: Garrett Williams, CB, Syracuse
  • Round 3, 83rd overall: Tank Bigsby, RB, Auburn
  • Round 4, 115th overall: Moro Ojomo, DL, Texas
  • Round 5, 146th overall: Cam Jones, LB, Indiana
  • Round 5, 165th overall: Jalen Moreno-Cropper, WR, Fresno State
  • Round 6, 227th overall: Will Mallory, TE, Miami (F)
  • Round 7, 257th overall: Tyreque Jones, S, Boise State

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