Mickey Loomis needs to stop answering the phone when Howie Roseman calls him. The Philadelphia Eagles have gotten so much from the New Orleans Saints in the last year; the Saints made an emotional decision to trade away star nickel C.J. Gardner-Johnson at a loss, just months after they sold a 2023 first round draft pick (and more assets) that was ultimately spent on a player who wasn’t ready to start right away, and who has since landed on injured reserve until at least November. The Saints have badly misevaluated themselves and their place in the NFL hierarchy without Sean Payton at the wheel.
If the season ended today and started the draft cycle tomorrow, New Orleans would be slotted in at No. 7 overall, per Tankathon — and that pick is going to the Eagles, meaning the Saints wouldn’t be on the clock until No. 38 overall. Sending a top-10 draft choice to the conference’s only 3-0 team would be, well, far from ideal. It doesn’t help that the Eagles have gotten the better of the Saints in each of their last two meetings, and New Orleans will see them again late this year. They’re losing to Philadelphia on and off the field.
Now let’s get into the reasons for optimism. The Saints have not drafted well lately anyway, even in the first round — of their last five first rounders, only one (Chris Olave) has made an instant impact. Trevor Penning looked like he was a year away from starting even before his Lisfranc injury. Payton Turner has been a healthy scratch in multiple games his first two years in the league. Cesar Ruiz is finally beginning to turn the corner in his third season. Marcus Davenport’s struggles in learning to play out of a three-point stance and managing injuries have been well-documented.
The Saints have spent recent top-100 picks on multiple players who have been limited to special teams like Zack Baun and Alontae Taylor (pre-injury), and other mid-round picks like Adam Trautman, Ian Book, and Rick Leonard have bordered on being unplayable. This is a really, really charitable spin on it but there’s no guaranteeing that the Saints would make a good investment with the No. 7 overall pick even if they weren’t shipping it to Philly.
So we’ll try and feel grateful that it’s a long season, and the Saints still have a clear path to the playoffs. They’re a game and a half behind in the division standings, and so many of their problems are self-inflicted. They can clean up the penalties and mental mistakes, work on the missed tackles, and better rehearse the pre-snap process to give Jameis Winston more avenues for adjusting protection when the defense is sending pressure. There’s absolutely a scenario where they shake off these early-season issues and go on a tear. It’s just going to take a lot of work. And if they don’t turn things around, well — there isn’t much of a light at the end of the tunnel without a valuable first round pick waiting on them.