For the last couple of years, the topic of Drew Brees’ successor has come up in the pre-draft process. This is natural given where Brees is in his career. Here we are in 2018 and the debate is back once again. They’re legitimate reasons why the Saints should draft Brees’ heir apparent in the first round and one big reason why they should not.
There could be as many as six quarterbacks taken in the first round: Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen are locks with Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph as first round possibilities. While there's a chance that not all of these guys will pan out, that type quality and quantity at that position doesn’t come around very often. Who knows who will be available in future classes at the game’s most important position? The Saints may not be able to sit out such a deep class.
Unlike past drafts, the Saints are in the fortunate position of drafting for depth at most spots. Last year, the Saints had four opening day rookie starters. Five if you count Alvin Kamara. That is unlikely to be the case this year.
Point being, taking a quarterback this year wouldn’t necessarily hinder you at another position as much as it would have in the past.
Even at 39, the best to ever wear the black and gold is showing no signs of slowing down. That's why he's the most important free agent the Saints must sign this offseason. But that’s the tricky part. There really is no gradual decline when it comes to a quarterback. It’s usually a drastic drop when Father Time officially takes over.
At some point, the Saints have to have Brees’ successor ready in house in hopes of making a somewhat seamless transition. Not having that in place could set the franchise back years.
Veteran Class of QBs:
This year’s free agent class of quarterbacks is unlike any we’ve seen in quite some time, if ever. Kirk Cousins, Nick Foles, A.J. McCarron, Case Keenum and Sam Bradford could all be available. This could reset draft boards for teams. Those that had glaring quarterback needs before free agency may not have them when the draft rolls around. For instance, if Denver signs Cousins then they would obviously be less likely to take a quarterback at five. That may not be the case for all of the teams that sign these guys but it could impact some.
This is the biggest obstacle to drafting a signal caller. As it stands right now at 27, the Saints would have to move up to the top ten at the very least to get one of the top four. At minimum, this will cost their first and third round picks this year, their first rounder next year and maybe even an established player on the roster. Is that too much to surrender for one player? If he’s your next franchise quarterback then absolutely not. But still in this scenario, there are a lot of moving parts that would have to come together. They would need a willing trading partner and enough ammunition to make a deal.
Of course, if they have high grades on Rudolph and Jackson they could possibly draft either one at 27. And there’s always a chance one of the top four slips.
I truly believe Sean Payton is enamored with this class of quarterbacks. Remember, the Saints were ready to draft Patrick Mahomes last year (imagine the impact that would have had on last season). The difference is they weren’t going to move up to get him. Still, Payton ahd a quarterback on his mind in the first round. It's fair to suggest he has one on his mind again this year.
Bottom line, the Saints would be foolish to not at least consider a quarterback in this draft. If the opportunity presents itself, and the price is right, they shouldn’t be afraid to make the pick.