New Orleans Saints 2017 NFL Draft retrospective

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

How should New Orleans Saints feel about their 2017 NFL Draft class after three years? We take a deep dive into it.

The 2016 New Orleans Saints season finished with one of their only losing records of the decade. They went 7-9 in that season and finished third in the NFC South and were left out of the 2016-17 NFL playoffs.

Drew Brees ended up being their only Pro-Bowler. Therefore, the New Orleans Saints had a lot of work to do to gear up for the next season. That year, they also ended up losing G Jahri Evans, CB B.W. Webb, and RB Tim Hightower in the offseason.

They started out the rebuilding process by signing G Larry Warford from Detroit, LB A.J. Klein from Carolina, WR Ted Ginn from Carolina, and RB Adrian Peterson from Minnesota. Along with a handful of other free agency signees, the Saints were off and running.

The next key to building up the 2017 team was the 2017 NFL Draft. The New Orleans Saints had two first-round picks, one second-round pick, three third-round picks, and a sixth-round pick. Therefore, the Saints had seven rookies coming in from the draft.

Original grade

FanSided: A-

"“It was nice to see the Saints address non-sexy position groups with their first-round picks. Cornerbacks are fast, but not the attention-grabbers of wide receivers. Keeping Drew Brees upright for as long as possible was definitely a smart move.”"

Draft Class

Round 1 (No. 11)

812. . Cornerback. Buckeyes . Marshon Lattimore. 1. player

In his three-year career Marshon Lattimore has started 43 games out of a possible 48 games for the New Orleans Saints. He has held down a secondary that has had multiple problems outside of him. The Ohio State cornerback has eight interceptions and one for a touchdown through three years. He also tacks on 168 tackles and 44 pass defends. Lattimore has been a Pro-Bowler in two out of his first three seasons.

Round 1 (No. 32)

1. player. 809. . Offensive tackle. Badgers . Ryan Ramczyk

Ramczyk is another player like Marshon Lattimore that has held down a group since his coming. Ryan Ramczyk has been one of the most trustworthy and durable offensive linemen that the Saints have ever had to start off a career. In his first three seasons, Ramczyk has only missed one out of a possible 48 games (not including playoffs). In the 2019 season alone, Ramczyk only missed roughly missed 10 offensive snaps all season long. According to Pro Football Focus, Ramczyk finished with a 91.0 overall grade for offensive linemen in 2019 (best on the Saints).

Round 2 (No. 42)

843. . Free safety. Utes . Marcus Williams. 2. player

Marcus Williams might have never made it to a Pro-Bowl in his first three years, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t played like it. Williams has more interceptions than Lattimore over the course of the same time (10). He also has 185 tackles and a sack to add along to that. Marcus Williams controls the back of the field and can be a complete ball hawk for opposing quarterbacks.

Round 3 (No. 67)

3. player. 839. . Running back. Volunteers . Alvin Kamara

Alvin Kamara quickly established himself as one of the best running backs in the entire NFL. He made the Pro-Bowl in his first two years and was snubbed from the 2019 list. He makes a living in the passing game and has caught 81 receptions in all three of his seasons. He has rushed and received for more than 700 yards in all but one season.

Round 3 (No. 76)

840. . Outside linebacker. Gators . Alex Anzalone. 3. player

Alex Anzalone has been a hit and miss linebacker for the New Orleans Saints. He started four games his rookie year and only had one sack and one quarterback hit with 16 tackles. He got a little more action in 2018 starting in seven games and gaining 2.0 sacks and six quarterback hits. In 2019, he struggled a lot with injuries and was placed on the IR in September for the remainder of the year.

Round 3 (No. 103)

Trey Hendrickson has been a solid and reliable backup on the defensive line for the New Orleans Saints. He didn’t see any starts in 2017 or 2018, but he was called up to start when DE Marcus Davenport went down with an injury at the end of the 2019 campaign. Hendrickson made the most of those starts forcing a fumble and gaining 4.5 sacks in three games.

Round 6 (No. 196)

834. . Defensive end. Hurricanes . Al-Quadin Muhammad. 6. player

Muhammad’s time on the Saints was very limited. In his rookie year, he appeared in four games and started none of them. He was released following his rookie year. He was signed by the Colts in 2018 and has since played two seasons with them starting only eight games total.

. . New Orleans Saints. 2020 RETROSPECTIVE GRADE. A

The New Orleans Saints have always had a knack of using their draft picks to an extreme advantage and the 2017 draft shows just that. The Saints still roster six of the seven draft picks from three years ago. That says something not only about the scouting staff but the importance of the draft.

With five starters one a 13-3 New Orleans Saints team coming from this draft, it is clear that the Saints deserve a high grade. The best player for the Saints to come out of this draft was arguably Kamara who was drafted in the third round.

The Saints made a living off of this draft and it shows with major key players still on the team and still performing at incredibly high levels.

by Nathan Beighle

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