2022 NFL Draft: Grades for Chris Olave and Every Other New Orleans Saints Pick

In 2021, the New Orleans Saints entered a new era without future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees. And the franchise will do the same in 2022 as it enters a new era without now-former head coach Sean Payton.

Payton’s replacement, Dennis Allen, who had served as the defensive coordinator in New Orleans since 2015, takes over a team that went a respectable 9-8 last season but missed the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

That obviously didn’t sit well with general manager Mickey Loomis as he pulled off a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles to acquire a second first-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. The Saints certainly needed help at the wide receiver position and traded up again on Day 1, jumping up five spots to take Ohio State’s Chris Olave at No. 11. They then filled another gap by drafting Northern Iowa tackle Trevor Penning and added three others over the next two days.

2022 NFL Draft picks by New Orleans Saints

  • No. 11 Overall: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
  • No. 19 Overall: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
  • No. 49 Overall: Alontae Taylor, CB, Tennessee
  • No. 161 Overall: D’Marco Jackson, LB, Appalachian State
  • No. 194 Overall: New Orleans Saints: Jordan Jackson, DT, Air Force

No. 11 Overall: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

New Orleans Saints 2022 NFL Draft pick Chris Olave
New Orleans Saints 2022 NFL Draft pick Chris Olave | Mike Calendrillo/Sportscasting

I’m not sure Chris Olave was worth trading up five spots to get, but this is still a solid pick. The Saints certainly love having Ohio State Buckeyes on their roster, and they got another solid one in Olave, who set a school record with 35 receiving touchdowns. An even 20% of his catches (13 of 65) resulted in a score in 2021. He’ll make life easier on Jameis Winston and/or Andy Dalton in the Big Easy.

Grade: A-

No. 19 Overall: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

With their second pick in the first round, the Saints nabbed Northern Iowa tackle Trevor Penning, who we’ll call a solid-enough pick. I still think there were better linemen available, but he’s a solid choice. At 6’7″ and 321 pounds, he’s got NFL size but has really only faced FCS competition. So we’ll just have to wait and see how he does at this level.

Grade: B

No. 49 Overall: Alontae Taylor, CB, Tennessee

It was a bit of a surprise not to see the Saints pull the trigger on a quarterback here, but I firmly believe that was the right call. They’ve committed to Jameis Winston for two years and $21 million guaranteed, and they’ve got Andy Dalton backing him up. So going defense here with Tennessee defensive back Alontae Taylor was an intelligent move. He’ll be able to contribute to special teams with his speed.

Grade: B

Day 3 Picks

No. 161 Overall: D’Marco Jackson, LB, Appalachian State

The Saints likely wanted to draft a linebacker much earlier than this, but D’Marco Jackson is a solid choice for this late in the draft.

Grade: B

No. 194 Overall: New Orleans Saints: Jordan Jackson, DT, Air Force

There’s not much risk for the Saints in taking Jordan Jackson at No. 194. The level of competition he faced may be a bit of an issue, but he’s a great athlete and could compete for a spot.

Grade: B-

Stats courtesy of Sports Reference

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