The New Orleans Saints made headlines before the 2022 NFL Draft, executing a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles to acquire an extra pick in the first round. Speculation began, with many expecting the franchise to trade up in the draft. Trade up, they did, as New Orleans dealt three of their own picks for the 11th selection in the NFL Draft, using the pick to draft Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave. Opting to keep their second pick in the draft’s first round, the Saints went on to select Northern Iowa offensive tackle Trevor Penning.
New Orleans general manager Mickey Loomis rounded out the draft with three selections. How did the Saints fare overall? That’s what we’ll assess here. Here are the grades for every Saints NFL Draft pick.
New Orleans Saints 2022 NFL Draft Grades
Round 1, Pick 11- WR Chris Olave (Ohio State)
While the Saints gave up a fair amount for the right to draft Olave, they also desperately needed a second receiver to complement Michael Thomas. The Ohio State product, who caught 65 passes for 936 yards and 13 touchdowns, was a dependable playmaker for the Buckeyes. Olave’s excellent route-running and big-play ability should be a perfect complement to Thomas, giving Jameis Winston two receivers he can really count on.
Round 1, Pick 19- OT Trevor Penning (Northern Iowa)
The second of the Saints’ first round picks, Trevor Penning is a monstrous, 6-7, 330-pound tackle whose physical, violent style of blocking endeared him to the Saints. New Orleans lost longtime tackle Terron Armstead, who solidified the line for the last several seasons, though Penning is certainly not a bad replacement by any means. The Northern Iowa product dominated FCS competition, which is what a starting-caliber NFL tackle should do.
Round 2, Pick 49- CB Alontae Taylor (Tennessee)
This pick was a bit of a curious one, as there was plenty of talent on the board at other positions. However, cornerback was a position the Saints certainly needed to address, as the depth behind Marshon Lattimore, Bradley Roby and Paulson Adebo was questionable. Taylor, who recorded 31 starts in four seasons, will bring experience to New Orleans’ cornerback room. The Tennessee product excels in press coverage and is a capable tackler, two qualities that should help him get on the field for Dennis Allen’s defense even if he isn’t the most pro-ready prospect.
Round 5, Pick 161- LB D’Marco Jackson (Appalachian State)
The Saints needed to get more depth at the outside linebacker spots, which they did with the selection of Jackson, whose sideline-to-sideline speed made him a reliable tackler in college. Jackson’s leadership skills as a captain at Appalachian State could prove to be valuable for the Saints, who may utilize the rookie in a special teams role in 2022.
Round 6, Pick 194- DT Jordan Jackson (Air Force)
This is merely a depth play by the Saints, who are loaded on the defensive line. However, Jackson, who ranked among the best Air Force defensive lineman in the program’s history, was a disruptive presence along the line. Tabbed as a prospect who has room to grow, he’s certainly going to the right place in New Orleans.