Saints: Predicting who New Orleans will select with the No. 24 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft
The New Orleans Saints have had a successful offseason thus far, making sure they are building a win-now roster with Drew Brees nearing the end of his career. With Brees turning 41 years old earlier this year, the Saints realize their window to win with Brees is gradually closing.
For the past few years, New Orleans has lacked a No. 2 wide receiver alongside Michael Thomas. To fill the void at the No. 2 wide receiver spot, the Saints were able to sign Emmanuel Sanders in free agency.
Adding Sanders gives New Orleans a slew of weapons for Brees to work with in the offense. Also, the signing of Sanders allows the Saints to shift their focus in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft to the defense.
On the defensive side of the ball, New Orleans reunited with Malcolm Jenkins, replacing Vonn Bell at safety. At the same time, the Saints decided to re-sign D.J. Swearinger and restructured Janoris Jenkins’ contract.
Following the departure of A.J. Klein in free agency, the Saints lack consistency at the linebacker position. Aside from Demario Davis, New Orleans doesn’t have a definitive starter at linebacker.
Taking that into consideration, here is a prediction on who the Saints will select with the No. 24 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Patrick Queen (LB, LSU)
Entering the draft, there isn’t an expansive group of linebackers that are projected to go early in the draft. While Isaiah Simmons is considered to be a linebacker to some, it remains to be seen what position he plays in the NFL.
Besides Simmons, the two linebackers that have surfaced as the best available prospects are Patrick Queen and Kenneth Murray. While Murray has more experience, Queen could make the most sense for the Saints with the No. 24 pick.
First and foremost, Queen played at LSU, which is relatively close to New Orleans. Therefore, the Saints have likely already done their homework on Queen.
Queen became a starting linebacker at LSU in his sophomore season, recording just 40 tackles and one sack in 2018. Then, in his junior season in 2019, Queen burst onto the scene with 85 tackles, three sacks, and an interception.
In his short time at LSU, Queen displayed an impressive ability to work sideline-to-sideline. Even though he isn’t the biggest linebacker, Queen is more than willing to finish his tackles in the open field.
At the next level, Queen figures to slot into a middle or weakside linebacker role in a 4-3 base defense. A duo of Davis and Queen would give the Saints a formidable linebacker corps in the coming years.