Round 1: Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell
Two consecutive losses to end the season could potentially land the New Orleans Saints a top-5 selection in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Such a draft slot would allow the Saints the opportunity to draft the elite defensive back prospect necessary to enhance a horrendous secondary in either Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey or Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves III. It would also provide New Orleans the ability to select the heir apparent to Drew Brees at the quarterback position, with either Memphis’ Paxton Lynch or California’s Jordan Goff of California all but certain to be available.
Following Monday night’s defeat to the Detroit Lions, however, the Saints still own a 5-9 record, and would hold the ninth overall pick in the first round of the NFL draft.
The ninth overall pick would provide the organization with plenty of flexibility in regards to draft choices, but it would most likely eliminate both of the aforementioned possibilities. An athletic pass-rushing outside linebacker such as Jaylon Smith out of Notre Dame would be a possibility. But with a talented class of pass rushers available in 2016, New Orleans could also wait until the early-second round to fill that need.
Instead, the Saints elect to draft Laquon Treadwell, a junior wide receiver out of Ole Miss that could prove to be one of the biggest playmaking threats of the 2016 NFL Draft.
At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Treadwell has the prototypical frame of a go-to receiver. More importantly, he has the physicality and skill-level to do be an immediate impact player for a receiving corps in need of one.
Treadwell is the most-talented wide receiver prospect of the 2016 NFL Draft Class, drawing comparisons to Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys for his reliable hands, elusiveness after the catch and ability to overpower opponents with size and speed.
Coming back from a devastating leg injury that ended his 2014 season early, Treadwell embarked on a dominant junior campaign in which he has complied 76 receptions, 1,082 yards and eight receiving touchdowns, along with recording six 100-yard receiving performances during a span of six games.
Wide receiver is not the most pressing need for the Saints, but a lack of a physically imposing playmaker on the outside is a weakness. Treadwell may have areas of which to improve, primarily route running, but his NFL-ready talent would make him an immediate weapon for the final years of the Drew Brees era.
Next: Round 2: Georgia outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins