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2021 NFL Draft: Saints not standing still, reportedly looking to trade up, possibly into top 10

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There’s a modern school of thought when it comes to the NFL Draft that acknowledges the nature of the draft is a crapshoot, and suggests that whenever you can, you should look to trade down and acquire more picks in order to give yourself as many dart throws as possible. 

If the past few years have shown us anything, it’s that if there is one team that definitely does not believe in that strategy, it’s the New Orleans Saints. Instead, the Saints have consistently been looking to move up the board so they could target a specific player — no matter the round. 

In the past decade, the Saints have done the following trade-ups, five of which involved moving up in the first round: 

  • Traded 2011 No. 56 and their 2012 first-round pick for No. 28, to select Mark Ingram
  • Traded Jamaal Brown and 2011 No. 155 for No. 72, to select Martez Wilson
  • Traded 2013 Nos. 108 and 109 for No. 82, to select John Jenkins
  • Traded 2014 Nos. 27 and 91 for No. 20, to select Brandin Cooks
  • Traded Jimmy Graham and 2015 No. 112 for No. 31, to select Stephone Anthony
  • Traded 2015 No. 187 and their 2016 sixth-round pick for No. 167, to select Damian Swann
  • Traded 2016 Nos. 78 and 112 for No. 61, to select Vonn Bell
  • Traded 2016 No. 152 and their 2017 fifth-round pick for No. 120, to select David Onyemata
  • Traded Brandin Cooks and their 2017 fourth-round pick for 2017 Nos. 32 and 103, to select Ryan Ramczyk and Trey Hendrickson
  • Traded 2017 No. 229 and their 2018 second-round pick for No. 67, to select Alvin Kamara
  • Traded 2018 Nos. 27 and 147 and their 2019 first-round pick for No. 14, to select Marcus Davenport
  • Traded 2019 Nos. 62 and 202 and their 2020 second-round pick for Nos. 48 and 116, to select Erik McCoy and Amani Hooker
  • Traded 2019 Nos. 116 and 168 for No. 105, to select Chauncey Gardner-Johnson
  • Traded 2020 No. 88 and their 2021 third-round pick for Nos. 74 and 244, to select Zack Baun (No. 244 was later traded)
  • Traded 2020 Nos. 130, 169, 203, and 2044 for No. 105, to select Adam Trautman
  • Traded their 2021 sixth-round pick for 2020 No. 240, to select Tommy Stevens

During that same span, the Saints have traded down [checks notes] zero times. So it should come as no surprise that with the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft mere hours away, we have a report from NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport that the Saints are once again looking to move up in the draft. 

Rapoport reports that the Saints have looked into moving as high as the top 10, and he thinks they might have their eye on a cornerback. His colleague, Jane Slater, though, thinks they might be looking for “something a little more interesting,” indicating they could be gauging the price to move up for Drew Brees’ successor under center. They have Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill under contract for the 2021 season, but if they could land someone like Justin Fields or Trey Lance, they’d be set up for the future as well as the present. 

Teams in the back half of the top 10 like the Lions, Panthers, Broncos, and Cowboys could be potential trade partners for the Saints, depending on which quarterbacks come off the board, and when. 




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