2022 NFL Draft: 4 Players the New Orleans Saints Must Target With the No. 16 Overall Pick

The 2022 NFL Draft is nearly upon us, and the New Orleans Saints will have a difficult decision to make with the 16th overall pick. Will the Super Bowl 44 champions select a quarterback, or could a talented receiver take his talents to the Superdome?

Really, for all we know, the Saints could go defense with their first of two first-round picks. Isn’t pre-draft speculation fun?

So, who should the Saints draft in the first round? As with our mock drafts, we picked players based on need and team fit. Also, all prospects are ranked alphabetically as opposed to preference or potential. 

Based on consideration of the aforementioned prerequisites, we believe the Saints should target the following players with the 16th overall pick.

Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

I’ve talked up Lloyd before, and I don’t care if the Saints don’t need a linebacker. If head coach Dennis Allen wants the reigning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, he’ll find a way to get the 6-foot-3, 237-pound linebacker on the field when the season starts.

Lloyd has an eye for the ball and tallied 22 tackles for loss, eight sacks, six pass breakups, and four interceptions in 2021. Although the Saints should focus on offense this early in the draft, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Allen take a chance on the Utah standout and turn him into the league’s next explosive pass-rusher.

Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

Will Wilson fall this far? There is so much uncertainty in this year’s draft that I could easily see the Ohio State standout going within the first 10 picks or falling into the early 20s. The 6-foot, 183-pound wideout ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine after totaling 70 catches, 1,058 yards, and 12 touchdowns in his final college season.

NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein praised Wilson’s “deceptive speed” and hands, traits that have firmly established him as a first-round prospect.

“[Wilson is] a linear, inside/outside receiver with trouble eluding press cleanly and is very inefficient with routes over the first two levels. His long speed is good, but the acceleration burst is what makes him such an effective separator in space. He might not be smooth getting there, but he has eye-popping ball skills when it’s time to go make a play.”

Lance Zierlein

That might just be enough for the Saints.

Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

If Corral is on the board here, he should be the Saints’ pick. There’s no sense beating around the bush or ignoring the obvious. New Orleans needs a quarterback to build around, and the All-SEC quarterback checks every box the team should have entering the draft.

The 6-foot-2, 212-pound Corral is a dynamic dual-threat who can beat teams with his arm or his legs, as many SEC defenses learned firsthand in 2021. Although there are questions about the Ole Miss standout’s durability, he makes perfect sense for the Saints at No. 16.

Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

Suppose the Saints don’t have an opportunity to select Corral at No. 16. In that case, the seven-time NFC South champions must ensure they can select Linderbaum, a violent interior offensive lineman and the 2021 Rimington Award (best center) winner.

Saints center Erik Mccoy had an inconsistent 2021 campaign and is entering the final year of his rookie contract. The 6-foot-2, 296-pound Linderbaum is capable of playing either guard or center in the NFL, and he’s drawn comparisons to Philadelphia Eagles star Jason Kelce. Although there might not truly ever be a “safe” pick, Linderbaum is a player who would be a perfect match for the Saints and what they hope to accomplish.

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