The 2022 NFL Draft is nearly upon us, and the New Orleans Saints will have a difficult decision to make with the 19th overall pick — which, barring a trade, will come three selections after the Super Bowl 44 champions choose a prospect at No. 16.
So, who should the Saints draft with the 19th overall pick? 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. For transparency, I mocked Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral to the Saints at No. 16, and one is free to include the other players in that story as potential prospects the team should target at No. 19.
Based on consideration of the aforementioned prerequisites, we believe the Saints should target the following players with the 19th overall pick.
Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
If the Saints draft Corral (or any quarterback), that young signal-caller will need weapons. All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas has barely played the last two seasons because of lingering ankle problems, and new head coach Dennis Allen would be wise to pursue a wideout early in the upcoming draft.
Enter Olave, the 6-foot, 187-pound California native ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and showcased impressive agility during his four seasons with the Buckeyes. If the 2021 second-team All-American receiver is still on the board at No. 19, he’s worthy of being the pick here. Olave’s speed and skill set should quickly make him a fan favorite in New Orleans.
Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia
The 6-foot-3, 304-pound Wyatt came off the bench his first two seasons before tallying nine tackles for loss in 24 games from 2020-21. I don’t think Wyatt would fall under Best Player Available in this situation, but Allen does have a defensive background. Would anyone truly be surprised to see a longtime defensive coordinator use one of his two first-round picks on a defensive lineman?
“His lateral quickness is useful in beating zone blocks and in sliding across the front in a game-based pass rush,” NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein wrote of the Georgia standout. “Wyatt has adequate strength but struggles to withstand a second blocker. The traits are average, but the effort is consistent, and Wyatt should fit nicely as a rotational, gap-seeking three-technique with disruptive flashes.”
That just might appeal to Allen.
Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M
Fun fact: I recently did a 32-team mock and posted it on Twitter, and I didn’t have Green going in the first round. That omission wasn’t a knock against the 6-foot-4, 323-pound interior offensive lineman; it was more of an admission that I expect teams to reach on players later in the first round and inadvertently allow a blue-chip prospect like Green to slip to the draft’s second day.
The Saints’ second first-round pick could be an opportunity for me to happily be proven wrong.
Once a 5-star offensive tackle prospect in high school, Green seemingly played everywhere in college. In fact, he started at four positions in 2021 and earned first-team All-American honors in the process. Green is a stellar run-blocker who should create no shortage of holes for All-Pro offensive weapon Alvin Kamara.
Would the Saints select an interior offensive lineman this early? If the player in question is Green, then I see no fault in the answer being a resounding “yes.”
Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Although there are concerns about Burks’ speed after he ran a 4.55 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, his athleticism and size (6-foot-2, 225 pounds) have kept him in the first-round conversation. I expect his traits and resume to win out and ensure the Arkansas native is selected within the first 25 picks.
In a situation where the Saints want a receiver and Olave isn’t on the board, I think Burks makes plenty of sense for the seven-time NFC South champions. The Arkansas standout totaled 66 catches, 1,104 yards, and 11 touchdowns in 12 starts last year en route to earning All-SEC honors.