The 2023 NFL Draft is almost approaching. The New Orleans Saints have eight draft selections, including a first-round pick obtained from the Broncos in return for the rights to head coach Sean Payton. Here we’ll look at the three best players for the New Orleans Saints to target with their 2023 NFL Draft first-round pick.
The Saints will not have their own first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft as it was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2022. The trade involved the Eagles sending picks 16 and 19 in the 2022 NFL Draft to the Saints. Those were in exchange for New Orleans’ first-round pick in 2023 and a second-round pick in 2024. However, the Saints did acquire Philadelphia’s fifth-round pick in the 2023 draft when they traded defensive back CJ Gardner-Johnson to the Eagles.
The Saints also still have their own draft picks in Rounds 2-5 and acquired a seventh-round pick through the compensatory process. This gives them enough draft capital to make moves on draft day by using the selections or moving around the draft board. However, the team is without their sixth-round pick, which was traded to the Houston Texans for CB Bradley Roby. The Texans received a conditional sixth-rounder in the 2023 draft, which was transferred over to them based on Roby’s playing time.
Now let’s look at the three best players for the Saints to target in the 2023 NFL Draft first-round.
3. Karl Brooks
At 6’3 and weighing 300 pounds, Karl Brooks is a defensive end with a large physique. He has the potential to transition to tackle in the NFL due to his size. Brooks was a highly disruptive player at Bowling Green. In fact, his strong performance last season generated numerous pressures, including more than 10 sacks. Despite his size, he moves with agility and has impressive lower-body flexibility. Additionally, Brooks held his own against high-profile recruits from larger schools during Senior Bowl practices.
Considering his potential, Brooks is worth taking a chance on. His game tape demonstrates his ability to apply pressure on quarterbacks. That would make him a valuable addition to a team in need of a strong defensive line player. Brooks’ versatility is also an asset. Keep in mind that he has experience playing various d-line positions while at Bowling Green.
2. Jaelyn Duncan
Jaelyn Duncan is one of the most experienced pass protectors in the draft. However, he still has room for improvement in that area. He has made mistakes and developed bad habits. However, he excels at opening up running lanes and would be a valuable asset to the Saints. That’s even though offensive tackle may not be a top priority. Remember that New Orleans already has Ryan Ramczyk, Trevor Penning, and James Hurst already under contract.
Take note, though that Duncan has over 40 career games played and has started as Maryland’s left tackle since the 2019 season. He has the ideal physical attributes that NFL scouts look for in offensive tackle prospects. Standing at 6’6 and weighing 330 pounds, he has the perfect build, length, and mass. Duncan is also an above-average athlete with exceptional movement skills. On the flip side, his technique is lacking in some areas. That can lead to inconsistent results on the field. Despite this, Duncan’s natural physical abilities make him a promising prospect with great potential.
1. Myles Murphy
Clemson EDGE Myles Murphy has the potential to be a versatile impact player in the NFL. His unique combination of size, length, explosion, and fluidity makes him difficult for offensive lines to block. He has been known to use power to reduce angles or speed to play through steep angles. Murphy can certainly challenge any type of offensive tackle opposite him. While he still needs to mature and refine his skills, he has the ability to be a game-changer for the Saints.
MYLES MURPHY GOT THAT DOG IN HIM pic.twitter.com/LeFJ5DVLg5
— Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) October 16, 2022
There is speculation that Murphy may be selected by the Atlanta Falcons with the eighth overall pick. Of course, he would make a significant addition to their defensive front. That’s even if Atlanta has already seen the addition of free agents David Onyemata and Kaden Elliss under the leadership of former Saints assistant coach Ryan Nielsen. That said, if the Falcons pass on Murphy, there’s a strong chance he falls to the Saints. Of course, that would be a much better proposition for coach Dennis Allen. He’d rather have Murphy than face Murphy.
Again, this kid has the potential to become an impactful starter on the defensive front. He just has the ability to play in multiple positions and excel at pass-rushing on third downs. Sure, he may need some time to develop into a full-time player and refine his rushing. Still, he has the potential to transform the look and feel of this team’s defensive front sooner rather than later.
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