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Saints Projected for Shocking First-Round Pick in Mel Kiper's Latest 2022 NFL Mock Draft

Devon Platana
The New Orleans Saints are projected for a shocking first-round pick in ESPN's Mel Kiper's latest 2022 NFL Mock Draft.
The New Orleans Saints are projected for a shocking first-round pick in ESPN's Mel Kiper's latest 2022 NFL Mock Draft. / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints quarterback position has been in limbo ever since Drew Brees retired at the end of the 2020 NFL season. While they re-signed QB Jameis Winston to a two-year, $28 million contract on Monday, it's still too early to tell if he'll still be with the organization beyond that.

The Saints currently hold the 18th overall pick at the upcoming draft in April. Although they have options as to what they can do with the pick, ESPN's Mel Kiper projects them to use Pick No. 18 on a shocking first-round quarterback.

Saints Mock Draft

Kiper currently projects the Saints using the 18th overall selection on Pittsburgh Nittany Lions QB Kenny Pickett. This pick is shocking for two reasons: 1) Few people expect Pickett to fall this far because of how scarce the position is in this draft class and 2) Many experts have Liberty's Malik Willis having the higher upside of the two.

Nevertheless, Pickett has all of the tools to be an NFL quarterback one day. He had a career season with the Nittany Lions last fall, finishing with new personal bests in completions (334), passing yards (4,319) and touchdowns (42).

Kiper said that Pickett is "the most NFL-ready" quarterback in the class and that "he could be the Saints' future." While New Orleans still does have 2021 third-round pick Ian Book on the roster, the consensus is that the former has the higher upside of the two.

Assuming that Pickett is NFL-ready, he also provides the Saints with a legitimate backup option in case Winston falters in his return from his ACL tear. Taysom Hill is no longer considered a quarterback option, Blake Bortles hasn't started a game since 2018 and Book is still unproven.

At the end of the day, it'll be intriguing to see if the Saints do address their future quarterback situation next month. The 2022 NFL Draft is set to begin on Thursday, April 28.

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Devon Platana is not a FanDuel employee. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.