It’s coming. A time where we don’t have Drew Brees behind center. As horrifying as that may be, we need to prepare. We have J.T. Barrett who showed potential at minicamp, and performed well in college, setting over 25 Ohio State school records, and breaking Drew Brees’s record for most career offensive yards with 12,697. Unfortunately, Barrett still needs to work on his downfield passing and overall mechanics. We also have Special Teams stud Taysom Hill who many Saints fans and Sean Payton himself want to prove can compete at an NFL level. While those two are learning the team and certainly raising a few eyebrows, neither are a basket we want to put all of our eggs in.
The 2019 College Football Season is quickly approaching and in its draft class are a couple of Quarterbacks I could see catching the eye of Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis, and Jeff Ireland. Now, we don’t have our own first round pick this year, as we moved it in the deal to select Marcus Davenport in this year’s draft, but as the front office has shown they aren’t afraid to put together the pieces to nab a player they like. We also have each of our picks for rounds 2-7. So, with one of those picks, it is likely that we will take a quarterback. The only question is, who?
Clayton Thorson, Northwestern
Clayton Thorson’s 2017 season was one to forget, he recorded a 60.4 completion% 2,844 yds, 15 tds, and 12 ints. That’s not all on him though, he had very little help anywhere on the offensive side of the ball. Instead, let’s look back on his successes. Remember when our very own Austin Carr had an amazing 90 receptions for 1,247 yds and 12 tds? This is the guy that threw those passes to him. When he has the help, he looks like a top tier college quarterback, and has the tools to become a franchise QB in the NFL. Also on the plus side, he has something Sean Payton loves in his leadership. Multiple team reporters have pointed to the fact that the players and coaches love him, he has a great locker room presence. Thorson is projected to go in Rounds 2 or 3. If he is there at or around our pick in round 2, don’t be surprised if we take him.
Kelly Bryant, Clemson
With all of the talk around us and Lamar Jackson, I think it would only be fair to look at the guy who used to simulate him in Clemson’s practices. After spending his first two years at Clemson behind Deshaun Watson, he saw his first chance to lead a team in the 2017 season. That team finished 12-2 losing to Alabama in the College Football Semifinal. Bryant had a somewhat impressive season passing for 2,802 yds, 13 tds, and 8 ints. He also ran for 665 yds and 11 tds. On the plus side, he’s known for having a great short pass game and to add to that he had an ACC-best 115.4 passer rating on deep balls, unfortunately he shows much room for improvement on the middle/intermediate throws. Bryant had two years to learn under Watson, and if we take him and he gets a year to learn under Brees, he has the potential to kill it at the NFL level.
Kyle Kempt, Iowa State
Looking at the middle to late rounds, I believe the best bet for us would be Kyle Kempt. The rare 6th year senior will get his second chance to lead the Cyclones after posting an impressive year in 2017. In 8 games, Kempt posted 1,787 yds, 15 tds, and only 3 ints. Among those 8 games was an upset win over then #3 ranked Oklahoma in his first game under center. One comparison made to him was Alex Smith. Not an outstanding arm, but throwing well placed and timed balls. Being a smart game manager, if he continues his success definitely expect to see him on the Saints draft board as a player who can really contribute with some more refining of his game.
So all in all, in what many would say is a relatively weak year for Quarterbacks, there are a few key players I wouldn’t mind adding to our squad.I’ll be highlighting three more quarterbacks this week to complete this two-part series. Keep an eye out for part two in just a couple days.