The New Orleans Saints need to be better than the mediocre team that they’ve put on the field for the last three years. They finished 7-9 in all three seasons and failed to make the playoffs. They will have to improve defensively and will likely do that early in the draft.
As the draft continues, the Saints could look to add depth to an offense that was one of the best in the league last year. New Orleans led the league in total yards and passing yards while finishing second in points scored in 2017.
Here are five players the Saints could target as late-round fits.
Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma
The Saints could use a slot receiver, and Dede Westbrook could be a good fit. The First-Team All-American had 80 catches for 1,524 yards and 17 touchdowns last year. He was also used as a kick returner and punt returner in certain situations. Westbrook has solid hands, and once he gets in the open, he can make things happen. Teams may shy away from him because of some off-field incidents.
Jahad Thomas, RB, Temple
The Saints need to bring in more competition at all positions, and running back should be included. The Saints could use a situational third-down back, and Jahad Thomas would be a strong fit for the squad. He is a good runner, combining to gain more than 2,000 yards in his final two seasons with the Temple Owls. Thomas also has the ability to move to the outside and cause mismatches in the passing game, which works in the New Orleans’ offense. He was a four-year contributor and returned kicks and punts for the Owls. By being able to play special teams, Thomas could turn into a valuable piece for New Orleans.
Stanley Williams, RB, Kentucky
If Thomas isn’t available, the Saints could see Kentucky’s Stanley Williams as a nice project. He averaged 6.8 yards per attempt as a junior and has the ability to go the distance once he’s in the open field. He also has decent hands. At 5-foot-7 and 190 pounds, Williams wouldn’t be an every-down back. But he could improve his value as a returner. Williams showed toughness after losing his sister and going through injuries in his final season. Still, he rushed for 1,170 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Dwayne Thomas, CB, LSU
LSU cornerback Dwayne Thomas only had a single interception in 2016, but he broke up 7 passes and made 42 tackles. He had good size for a corner (6-foot and 186 pounds) and doesn’t mind helping out in the run game. Thomas had 7 tackles for losses and 5 quarterback hurries last season as well. He has also played in the slot, so that enhances his value at the next level. His stock rose after his week performance at the Senior Bowl.
Shaquill Griffin, CB, UCF
The Saints could also look at cornerback Shaquill Griffin. Last season, Griffin had a team-high 4 interceptions and 15 pass breakups to go with 50 tackles. Teams will like his 4.38 speed and the fact he has 34 pass breakups the last two seasons with the Knights. He has good closing speed and is solid in the run game. Griffin, who has a twin brother who also played at UCF, is 6-foot and 194 pounds. While he may not be ready for NFL-caliber receivers immediately, teams will love his speed. In the pass-happy NFC South, the Saints could use a speedy cornerback.