What Are The New Orleans Saints’ Team Needs In The 2022 NFL Draft?

The 2022 NFL Draft starts on Thursday, April 28. As a lead-up to the draft, we’ll be giving a team-by-team breakdown for positional needs. For each team, we’ll give an overview of the current depth chart and how big of a need each position is in the upcoming draft. You can find the rest of the team needs (as they’re updated) and the rest of our draft content in the 2022 NFL Draft hub.

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What Picks do the New Orleans Saints have in 2022

The New Orleans Saints have seven picks.

Round 1 (16)
Round 1 (19)
Round 2 (49)
Round 3 (98)
Round 4 (120)
Round 5 (161)
Round 6 (194)

New Orleans Saints Top POSITIONS OF NEED

  1. LT
  2. WR
  3. S
  4. Long-term QB
  5. Interior OL depth

New Orleans Saints Strength of Schedule, 2022

The New Orleans Saints have the 15th easiest NFL strength of schedule for the 2022 NFL season.

New Orleans Saints Offense

By Rich Hribar


Jameis Winston
Andy Dalton
Ian Book

After missing out on Deshaun Watson, the Saints retained Jameis Winston on a two-year contract. 

Winston was doing everything asked of him prior to tearing his ACL in Week 8. The Saints had a 5-2 record while he was averaging 8.2 yards per pass attempt with 14 touchdowns to just three interceptions.

Winston was actually the top quarterback in fantasy points per attempt (.601) while second in the NFL in EPA per play on his abbreviated sample.

Winston also was living off a completely unsustainable 8.7% touchdown rate, but with the Saints keeping Pete Carmichael in place and finally getting Michael Thomas back on the field, Winston is set back up in a potentially better environment, but the loss of Sean Payton while coming off a major injury are things that can have a negative impact paired with that expected reduction in efficiency. 

The Saints also went out and added Andy Dalton, which was puzzling since Dalton could compromise a future compensatory pick

By trading for another first-round pick in this draft, the Saints seemingly have one foot in each bucket of potentially looking for a rookie quarterback and still kicking the can on pushing for wins now.

Neither Winston’s nor Dalton’s contract prohibits the Saints from selecting a quarterback, but It would be an odd approach in building out a quarterback room. 

I am not fully convinced their trade with the Eagles was solely made with the intent to add a quarterback, but they are still looking for the long-term answer at the position. 


Alvin Kamara
Mark Ingram
Josh Adams
Tony Jones
Adam Prentice (FB)

Alvin Kamara averaged a career-high 22.1 touches per game (third in the league), producing 1,337 yards and nine scores in 2021. 

On the downside, he caught a career-low 47 passes, which played a large role in him averaging fewer than 5.0 yards per touch for the first time in his career. He also missed four games.

Now, the bar was set extremely high for those to be negatives and Kamara is still one of the league’s best dual-purpose talents, but Kamara also was dead last in the league in rushing yards below expectation (-133) while his broken plus missed tackle rate per attempt (16.7%) was his lowest since 2018. 

All of that said, the Saints are more than locked in on Kamara, who carries dead cap hits of $25.5 million and $19.3 million over the next two seasons. 

Mark Ingram will turn 33 years old this December, but he was useful when Kamara missed time a year ago, producing 108 and 113 yards in the first two games that Kamara missed before producing just 26 yards in his other game without Kamara.

Given Ingram’s age, and the lack of talent afterward, the Saints could add another back on day three, but that is still not a necessity. 


Michael Thomas
Marquez Callaway
Deonte Harty
Tre’Quan Smith
Kevin White
Kirk Merritt
Easop Winston
Kawaan Baker
Jalen McCleskey

The Saints received back-end production from their wideouts in 2021, ranking 29th in the league in targets (15.4) and yardage (125.9 yards) per game from their wide receivers. 

New Orleans also ranked 28th in the league in success rate (46%) targeting the position.

Michael Thomas has appeared in just seven games the past two seasons while missing all of 2021. 

Thomas still has a playcaller that understands where he excels, but he will be coming back to a team without Drew Brees or Sean Payton. 

Just 17.5% of Thomas’s career targets have come from passers other than Brees, but Thomas has remained a hyper-efficient target no matter who the quarterback has been. 

We have a 12 game sample of Thomas playing without Brees (or Brees missing significant time) over the course of his career. Thomas remained a target magnet. Thomas received a gaudy 32.1% of the team targets with seven or more targets in every game but one (which also happened to be the infamous Kendall Hinton game). 

Thomas had at least five receptions in 10 of those 12 weeks with eight or more grabs in eight games. 

Thomas is still signed through the 2024 season, carrying dead cap hits of $38.3 million and $25.4 million over the next two seasons. 

Given the amount of time Thomas has missed, the Saints still have not built much insurance or depth at the position. Tre’Quan Smith is the only player currently behind Thomas of note that is signed beyond the 2022 season while Marquez Callaway will be a restricted free agent. 

The Saints are surely going to be adding to the position in April. 


Adam Trautman
Taysom Hill
Nick Vannett
Juwan Johnson
Dylan Soehner
Ethan Wolf

New Orleans received similar production from their tight ends as their wideouts in 2021. 

The tight end group posted 35.4 yards per game (29th) on 4.8 targets per game (29th) while ranking 25th in yards per target (6.9 yards) to the position. 

The Saints used multiple picks to trade up for Adam Trautman in the 2020 draft, but playing through injuries and uneven quarterback play, Trautman was unable to take a strong step forward in his second season, catching 27 passes for 263 yards and two scores. 

The team is moving Taysom Hill to tight end officially to gain a spark and find more opportunities for him to be on the field. 

Despite the lack of production from this unit in 2021, Trautman, Hill, Vannett, and Soehner all are signed for multiple seasons while Juwan Johnson is a restricted free agent. 


LT: James Hurst/Ethan Greenidge
LG: Andrus Peat/Forrest Lamp
C: Erik McCoy /Cohl Cabral
RG: Cesar Ruiz/Calvin Throckmorton
RT: Ryan Ramczyk/Landon Young/Jerald Hawkins

The Saints were bludgeoned across the offensive line in 2021. The most frequent offensive line combination they used during the season played just 167 total snaps (15.9%), which was the lowest rate in the league for any team’s most frequently used group across the line. 

Cesar Ruiz was the only lineman to log 1,000 snaps on the season, while Andrus Peat (six games played), Terron Armstead (eight games played), Ryan Ramczyk (10 games played), and Erik McCoy (12 games played) all missed significant time during the season. 

All of that played a role in the Saints coming out 20th in pass blocking grade per Pro Football Focus and 24th in run blocking grade.

Just having better fortune in terms of health on the line can be a major boost for this unit, but with Armstead moving on via free agency and McCoy entering the final season of his rookie contract, left tackle and depth across the board are needs.

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New Orleans Saints Defense

By Dan Pizzuta

Interior Defensive Line

David Onyemata
Shy Tuttle
Kentavius Street
Albert Huggins
Malcolm Roach
Jaleel Johnson
Jalen Dalton
Braxton Hoyett

David Onyemata played 38% of the overall snaps in 11 games and was a force inside. He ranked fifth among defensive tackles in pressure rate, per SIS. Onyematta is in the final year of his contract as it voids following the 2022 season.

Shy Tuttle played the most snaps among New Orleans defensive tackles (44.3%) and was a presence against the run. Tuttle was a restricted free agent in 2022 and is currently slated to play on an RFA tender this season.

The Saints recently signed Kentavius Street to bet on some upside as a pass rusher. Street tore his ACL during a pre-draft workout in 2018 and has since worked his way into the 49ers’ deep defensive line rotation. In 2021, he had three sacks and five quarterback hits.


Cameron Jordan
Marcus Davenport
Payton Turner
Tanoh Kpassognon
Carl Granderson
Taco Charlton
Sharif Finch

Cameron Jordan keeps chugging along as he will turn 33 years old in July. After years of playing over 90% of the defensive snaps, Jordan has played 78% and 79% over the past two seasons. That has saved his legs a bit and allowed him to continue to produce. Jordan was 59th among edge rushers in pressure rate but still picked up 22 quarterback hits and was first among edge rushers in ESPN’s Run Stop Win Rate.

The Saints bet on Marcus Davenport, first with their draft day trade up and then by letting Trey Hendrickson leave in free agency. Davenport was ninth among edge rushers in pressure rate and that turned into a career-high nine sacks.

New Orleans restricted Davenport’s rookie contract in 2021, which voids after 2022 and leaves a $7.6 million cap hit in 2023. It would appear the way around that is an extension.

Payton Turner only played 12.8% of the snaps as a rookie but will provide some depth. Carl Granderson, a 2019 undrafted free agent, has gotten some run with eight sacks and 17 quarterback hits over the past two seasons.

Off-ball Linebacker

Demario Davis
Pete Werner
Zack Baun
Kaden Elliss
Andrew Dowell

Demario Davis remains one of the league’s best off-ball linebackers with the ability to impact every level of the field. Davis played 92.8% of the defensive snaps for New Orleans in 2022 but he just turned 33 years old in January. His contract voids after 2023.

2021 second-round pick Pete Werner is in line to play more after seeing 35.3% of the defensive snaps last season. He was 26th among 85 qualified linebackers in yards allowed per coverage snap. With Kwon Alexander a free agent, Werner should be the second linebacker, though the team did play the sixth-highest rate of dime (23.8%) in the league last season.

Zack Baun, a 2020 third-round pick, appeared in all 17 games during the regular season but was on the field for just 17.4% of the defensive snaps. He brings ability as a pass rusher but has two combined quarterback hits in two seasons.


Marshon Lattimore
Paulson Abedo
PJ Williams
Bradley Roby
Dylan Mabin
KeiVarae Russell
Bryce Thompson
Jordan Miller

Marshon Lattimore was 85th among 93 qualified cornerbacks in Adjusted Yards allowed per coverage snap, which accounts for touchdowns and interceptions. Lattimore’s league-wide perception is much better than those rankings and he signed a five-year extension in September than keeps him on the Saints through 2026.

2021 third-round pick Paulson Abedo had some ups and downs expected of a rookie corner. He ranked 81st in Adjusted Yards allowed per coverage snap but flashed upside that should allow him to be a successful outside corner as he develops.

Bradley Roby played well in limited snaps after coming over from the Texans and re-signed for three years.

P.J. Williams bounced between safety and corner, a role he’s likely to play again in 2022. He was useful as a slot corner, second in Adjusted Yards allowed per coverage snap.


Marcus Maye
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson
Daniel Sorensen
JT Gray
Justin Evans

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is in a similar boat as Williams. He’s played both safety and slot corner with a majority of his snaps in the slot last season. But with the safety background and the current depth chart at the position, he could play more there in 2022.

The Saints replaced Marcus Williams with Marcus Maye, a bet the former Jet can return to form after an Achilles tear.

Daniel Sorensen might get starter snaps here as a free agent signing, which might tell you all you need to know about the current outlook of the position.

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