As any casual observer of the NFL knows, the Saints had a historic NFL draft last year.
The additions of Ohio State DC Marshon Lattimore (1/11), Wisconsin OT Ryan Ramczyk (1/32), Utah FS Marcus Williams (2/42) and Tennessee OH Alvin Kamara (3/67) vaulted New Orleans from a its three-year 7-9 sleepwalk to an 11-5 finish, an NFC South title, and an almost appearance in the NFC Championship game. The Saints’ performance on draft day earned them our first-ever award for having the Best Draft Class of 2017.
While hindsight is 20/20 and everyone acknowledges the Saints now, it’s far harder to know which teams did best immediately following the selections. Of course, that doesn’t stop every major media figure on the Web from trying. It’s interesting to look back on post-draft grades and watch writers balance their words, leave plenty of room for interpretation, and generally hand out marks that are hard to criticize.
Let’s take a look at the aftermath of the ’17 draft to see what the pundits thought of the Saints.
- According to NFL.com, the Saints reached a little to take NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Kamara, “Not sure I love the future pick trade, though Kamara’s a very good player,” said draft expert Chad Kreuter at the time. He also wondered if the team should have looked to its defensive line at No. 32 instead of selecting Ramczyk, who became an integral part of the team’s o-line. “But should they have helped their defensive front instead?,” Kreuter wondered.
- Dan Kadar at SB Nation gave New Orleans a solid ‘B.’ Though he “loved the picks of Lattimore, Williams, and Kamara,” he said he didn’t “see a lot of need in an offensive tackle for the Saints” in the first round, and added that “normally (he’s) not a fan of trading future picks,” as the team did to land Kamara.
- Bleacher Report’s Doug Farrar gave nine teams an ‘A’ or ‘A-‘ last year, but not the Saints, who earned a middle-of-the-road ‘B.’ Though he applauded GM Sashi Brown and the Browns’ “new regime,” which is “doing things differently,” he dinged No. 11 overall selection Lattimore, who was “not an ideal press defender at this point in his career.”
- CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco was also pretty blah on the Saints’ draft, mainly because he “didn’t love” the selection of Ramcyzk. “Is that really a major need?,” he asked.
This week, we tried to get a professional opinion on the teams that excelled in April, asking scouts which teams they felt did the best, especially after two weeks of preseason games. They came up with four teams and cited some players who already look like draft-day steals.
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