NFL

NFL Draft Betting: What Position Will the Saints Address With Their First Pick?

Gabriel Santiago
Gabriel Santiago@gps_onthemic

With the 2024 NFL Draft starting today, the New Orleans Saints are looking to win now.

Last season, New Orleans produced a bit of the good, bad and ugly. Ultimately, they finished 9-8 but were unable to make the playoffs through a mediocre NFC South.

Given the talent in house, the Saints have potential to make noise this year. Interestingly, New Orleans (4.08 nERD) completed the 2023 campaign listed higher on numberFire's NFL power rankings than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1.78 nERD), who most recently won the division.

Still, "Who Dat" experienced woes in various areas. Quarterback Derek Carr had mixed results in his first year with New Orleans. His 68.4% completion clip was sharp, but Carr averaged only 7.1 yards per passing attempt.

The Saints can help out their veteran quarterback (and overall team) by improving the ground game. In 2023, New Orleans churned out just 3.6 yards per carry, which was tied for second-last in the league. Starting the 2024 season with tailback Alvin Kamara -- a luxury they were not afforded last year -- should help with that metric.

FanDuel Sportsbook has NFL Draft odds available for which position a wide range of teams will take with their first pick. In NOLA's case, their first selection comes at No. 14. At that spot, it seems most likely that Who Dat will add a player on offense.

Let's look at the Saints' draft odds, surveying which positions seem like the best bet for them to use their first pick on.

All NFL odds via FanDuel Sportsbook. Settlement for this market is based on NFL.com position classification.

NFL Draft Odds

Position of New Orleans' First Pick
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds
Offensive Lineman-700
Defensive Lineman/EDGE+1100
Wide Receiver+1600
Quarterback+20000
Cornerback+20000
Tight End+3500
Safety+10000
View Full Table

Offensive Line (-700)

With offensive line a staggering favorite in this market, FanDuel Sportsbook is fairly confident that New Orleans will draft an offensive lineman when they are first on the clock.

As reflected in the team's recent rushing production, the Saints are not getting much push up front. From there, Carr was sacked 31 times in 2024, which is more than desired for a 33-year-old signal-caller. Fortunately for NOLA, the upcoming draft offers copious talent at offensive line.

From the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, left-tackle Joe Alt is considered to be the top prospect in the trenches this year. The 6-foot-9 All-American has potential to dominate on Sundays, but it is unlikely he will be available when the Saints have their initial turn. FanDuel Sportsbook has Alt listed with -280 odds to be the first offensive lineman drafted, and that will most certainly be before 14th overall.

Behind Alt, there are myriad players along the offensive line who will be in high demand. Fellow tackles Taliese Fuaga (Oregon State Beavers), JC Latham (Alabama Crimson Tide) and Olu Fashanu (Penn State Nittany Lions) all have attributes that could lead to generational NFL careers. Additionally, Troy Fautanu (Washington Huskies) and Amarius Mims (Georgia Bulldogs) can be instant contributors in this league.

Dating back to 2019, the Saints have twice used their first draft pick on an offensive linemen: Cesar Ruiz (2020) and Erik McCoy (2019). In 2022, Trevor Penning was chosen as a first-rounder, but that was after NOLA took receiver Chris Olave. The former two players are interior linemen, which the 2024 class has a some intriguing prospects. Knowing that, Oregon Ducks' standout Jackson Powers-Johnson could also be a fit in the Big Easy.

Defensive Line/EDGE (+1100)

After O-line, New Orleans has also displayed a fondness for taking defensive linemen in the opening round. As alluded to, O-line has cashed this market two times in the past five years, but D-line has done the same. The Saints went for defensive tackle Bryan Bresee (29th) in 2023 along with edge rusher Payton Turner (28th) in 2021.

The 2024 draft class has a few options from this positional group who could make New Orleans turn its eyes, but the offseason acquisition of Chase Young could also deter them. After Young, the Saints still employ studs like Cam Jordan and Carl Granderson in this group. However, the defensive line is a unit that works in rotations, so too much depth here is really not an issue.

FanDuel Sportsbook has defensive line/EDGE listed with 11-to-1 odds in this market. That's the second-shortest listing, but the number still warrants a long-shot mentality. But if the Saints decide to take a player from this group, who could it be?

Jared Verse (Florida State Seminoles), Dallas Turner (Alabama) and Laiatu Latu (UCLA Bruins) are the top prospects in the defensive front this year. All three approach the NFL Draft with game-wrecking abilities. If New Orleans sees several of their top choices taken before the 14th overall pick, they could take the most talented player available and end up with one of these pass rushers.

numberFire's model had Who Dat's defense ranked fifth overall in 2023 while their offense was much further down at 13th. Knowing that, it seems more likely they will choose an offensive player.

Wide Receiver (+1600)

As an even longer shot, the Saints show 16-to-1 odds to use their first pick of 2024 on a receiver. For reference, this is something they have done only once since 2015. Prior to Olave in 2022, Brandin Cooks was the most recent wideout that New Orleans selected in the first round.

It should be noted that this class is particularly deep at wide receiver. There's chatter that we could see an NFL Draft all-time record eclipsed -- can 2024 match 2004 with seven receivers taken in the first round?

The NFL Draft odds at FanDuel Sportsbook expect three WRs to be gone within the first 10 picks; Marvin Harrison Jr. (Ohio State Buckeyes), Malik Nabers (LSU Tigers) and Rome Odunze (Washington) will most likely be off the board by the time NOLA is on the clock. However, there will be a few dynamic flanker options still available at that point.

Of note, the Saints recently released receiver Michael Thomas. The NFL's single-season reception leader has dealt with rampant lower body injuries, and New Orleans could eye a replacement for him in this draft. That leads me to Brian Thomas Jr. of LSU.

These receivers share a surname and both are big-bodied targets. Louisiana State's Thomas stands at 6-foot-5 and served as a touchdown machine for the Tigers. He caught 17 scores in 2023. If I were Derek Carr, that is probably who I'd be lobbying for at 14th overall.


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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.