The 2020 NFL Draft is now complete.
The Saints went into this draft with only five picks and came out with four selections. They traded up three times to get the players they coveted the most. Although they gave up two future selections, those picks will be replaced by compensation picks for the first time in years. Nonetheless, the team did what they had to do to get the prospects they wanted. Given that the COVID-19 pandemic is still at large, there will not be any mini-camp or OTA workouts for these rookies to participate in.
Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis always have a vision for a certain player and these draft picks are no different. We take a look at each player and how they will affect not only this season but years to come.
Cesar Ruiz – C – Michigan
The Saints took Ruiz with the 24th pick in the draft. What they get is the top rated interior lineman in the class. Shocking at first considering they drafted Erik McCoy the year prior. But once you sit down and think about it, the choice makes sense in the long run. Larry Warford is in a contract year and will have to fight for his job. McCoy is capable of moving to guard and at that point kills two birds with one stone. The idea of having two young players who can recognize fronts is a major win-win scenario.
Zack Baun – LB – Wisconsin
The linebacker depth was a major question mark going into the draft. The Saints went after Jamie Collins in free agency but could not reel him in. A lot of “experts” assumed that is where they would go with their first round pick. Ultimately, Baun was the selection in the third round and brings a lot to an already stout defense. He can play outside, on the line and as an edge rusher. It makes you wonder how he fell as far as he did. He could become a starter this year depending on how well Kiko Alonso is after an ACL injury at the end of the season. Nonetheless, this adds a myriad of options to the defensive scheme.
Adam Trautman – TE – Dayton
This selection was more of a shock because of what it took to get there. The Saints gave up the last four picks they had to move back into the third round to nab Trautman. To us, that says a lot about the vision that Sean Payton has for him. The need was not a glaring one but is no longer a concern in the future. This choice has the vibe of another diamond in the rough. Jared Cook is in a contract year and came along towards the end of the season. Adding Trautman to the mix opens up the playbook even more overall.
Tommy Stevens – QB – Mississippi State
Just when we thought they were done, the Saints pull a rabbit out of the hat. They traded back into the draft in the seventh round to get Stevens. Now his position says quarterback, but Payton’s vision says Taysom 2.0. He has a big frame with solid speed and is very open to doing whatever it takes to win. Just the thought of having two Taysoms on the field at once is scary to say the least. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
What do all of these draft picks have in common? Versatility. That has been the mantra for this team for the last several years. At the same token, these guys have the character that fits directly into the culture. Sadly we will not be able to see them during the spring but we can hope they are ready to go when training camp comes around.