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Breaking down the Saints picks in a new 7-round mock draft sim

Enough people have attempted to write pseudo-drafts that we decided to give our mechanical overlords a try, with the 2023 NFL draft just weeks away. We ran a seven-round simulation using the Pro Football Network’s mock draft machine, making selections for each team, producing some unique results for the New Orleans Saints. Let’s break it down:

Round 1, Pick 29: TE Darnell Washington, Georgia

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Round 2, Pick 40: DE Keion White, Georgia Tech

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Round 3, pick 71: WR Marvin Mims Jr., Oklahoma

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Round 4, Pick 115: RB Israel Abanikanda, Pittsburgh

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Round 5, Pick 146: Trade with the Los Angeles Chargers

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The Saints dropped 10 spots in the fifth round and earned a seventh-round pick from the Chargers (ranked 239th overall).

Round 5, Pick 156: DE Habakuk Baldonado, Pittsburgh

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Round 5, Pick 165: RB Kenny McIntosh, Georgia

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Round 7, Pick 227: RB DeWayne McBride, UAB

Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Round 7, Pick 239 (via Chargers): DE Ikenna Enechukwu, Rice

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Round 7, pick 257: QB Tyson Bagent, Shepherd

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This was the Saints’ strangest mock draft we’ve seen so far this year, largely as it breaks a 15-year streak of inaction. Beyond that, however, the algorithm’s decision to design three running backs and three defensive ends is difficult to understand. Sure, both positions are areas of need for New Orleans, but not quite to the same extent. And designing a blocking tight end in the first round is certainly a brave decision. We rate this projection D-plus, with plenty of room for improvement.

Still, the Saints came out of this sim with some top-flight players. Mims is an underrated receiver and great value in the third round. Abanikanda is a fantastic fourth-round pick — if he had been healthy and able to compete in the NFL Scouting Combine he would be projected much higher, but instead teams and media analysts are playing a catch-up after impressing everyone on Pitt’s pro day. Baldonado and Enechukwu are both prototypical defensive ends that play with great power and depth, and would make sense if the Saints didn’t address that position early on. While picking white in the second round makes them somewhat redundant, but that’s the limitation of running a simulation without the guidance of a human hand.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire