New Orleans Saints' 2017 draft class: Kiper's grades, McShay's best pick, more
NFL Draft Insiders
Posted: 2017-05-01

The 2017 NFL draft is over, and it's time to review how your favorite team fared. Where did it reach? Did it get a potential steal in Round 5? Is there a bust waiting to happen?

ESPN Insider's draft experts break down each draft class, starting with Mel Kiper Jr.'s grade, Todd McShay's favorite pick, and Scouts Inc.'s analysis on how each player fits into his new team.

New Orleans Saints

Mel Kiper's Draft Grade: B

Kiper: The Saints had an extra first-round pick because they traded Brandin Cooks to the Patriots for the No. 32 pick overall, noted at the top because Cooks has 315 catches in three seasons. With two first-rounders, you really have to be looking for a couple of players with the ability to make an impact relatively soon (especially for a team coming off a third straight 7-9 season), and I think the Saints got that done. Marshon Lattimore comes with what I'd call an orange flag -- not quite red -- because of lingering hamstring issues, but if he's healthy, he's the top cornerback in the draft. This is an exceptional athlete (4.38 40) who can look effortless. Put the Malcolm Butler trade talk to bed.

Ryan Ramczyk is a reasonable selection at No. 32 overall, given that left tackle Terron Armstead has dealt with injuries and right tackle Zach Strief is almost 34. Ramczyk has the ability to play right away (better if it's on the right side), but he also carries some risk, as his hip has been a problem. The secondary was a priority, and Marcus Williams isn't a far cry from what Malik Hooker brings -- and much further down the board.

A big question mark here was the value given up to draft Alvin Kamara. Even if you question any possibilities beyond 2017 for Mark Ingram or Adrian Peterson, trading a second-rounder to move up and take my No. 88 overall player is iffy. Give them this: The backfield is officially loaded.

I like Alex Anzalone, and if he's healthy, he can help, but the injury history is significant with three major injuries at Florida. A potential steal here is Trey Hendrickson, who was a monster in Conference USA.

Overall, you have to like the fact that there are two potential immediate starters (if needed, in Ramczyk's case) out of Round 1 and an emphasis on defense. But we can't forget this draft involves the departure of a Pro Bowl player in Cooks and now a second-round pick the Saints don't have in 2018.

ROUND/PICK NAME POS COLLEGE
1/11 Marshon Lattimore CB OHIO STATE
1/32 Ryan Ramczyk OT WISCONSIN
2/42 Marcus Williams S UTAH
3/67 Alvin Kamara RB TENNESSEE
3/76 Alex Anzalone ILB FLORIDA
3/103 Trey Hendrickson DE FLORIDA ATLANTIC
6/196 Al-Quadin Muhammad DE MIAMI



Todd McShay's favorite pick

Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State (pick No. 11)

The Saints finished 32nd in the NFL in passing defense in 2016 ... and 31st the season before, so having the draft's top man-to-man cover corner fall to them at pick No. 11 had to be a great feeling inside the Saints' draft room. An explosive athlete (4.36 40), Lattimore has ideal size (6-foot, 193), and he gives up minimal separation when playing shadow coverage. I also really like the value New Orleans got with RB Alvin Kamara (our No. 40 player; No. 67 pick), but they traded up to get him, giving up a 2018 second-rounder.

Scouts Inc. on 2017 class

1 (11) Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State | Highlights

What he brings: Lattimore is atop our list in a very deep cornerback class, with natural fluidity and the size and athleticism to play within a man or zone scheme. Displays outstanding speed with the closing burst to make up ground and the ball skills to finish when provided the opportunity. -- Kevin Weidl

How he fits: The Saints get strong value here with Lattimore, who needs some refining but is the top cornerback in the class. Lattimore has the talent to quickly develop into a starter and help improve the league's worst passing defense in 2016. -- Kevin Weidl



1 (32) Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin | Highlights

What he brings: Ramczyk is coming off hip surgery, played only one year of FBS football and has shorter arms. Still, he projects as a first-round pick with the foot speed and size to develop into an effective left tackle based off his 2016 tape. -- Steve Muench

How he fits: Left tackle Terron Armstead has yet to play a full 16-game season, right tackle Zach Strief turns 34 this year and 2015 first-round pick Andrus Peat is a better fit on the inside. Ramczyk is arguably the best tackle prospect in this class. -- Steve Muench



2 (10) Marcus Williams, S, Utah | Highlights

What he brings: Williams is a true free safety who has above-average instincts and recognition skills along with a very good range. He also shows quality ball skills to finish when provided the opportunity. He needs to get strong and more physical in run support. -- Kevin Weidl

How he fits: After taking the top corner in the class in the first round (Marshon Lattimore), the Saints continue to infuse playmakers in the back end. Williams is a free safety who will provide more flexibility for last year's pick Von Bell to utilize his versatility in coverage and help improve a pass defense that ranked dead last in 2016. -- Kevin Weidl



3 (3) Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee | Highlights

What he brings: Kamara is a quick and sudden runner who runs behind his pads and with better power than his size indicates. He is also a polished route runner who adds quality versatility to the passing game. Off-the-field concerns include Kamara being twice suspended in his time at Alabama and a 2014 arrest for driving without a license. -- Kevin Weidl

How he fits: Kamara gives the Saints a dynamic runner and a versatile reserve behind Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson. He should be a strong contributor on third downs as an outlet for Drew Brees in the passing game. -- Kevin Weidl



3 (12) Alex Anzalone, ILB, Florida | Highlights

What he brings: The medical concerns are significant for Anzalone, who has sustained multiple shoulder injuries and a broken forearm. He could prove to be a steal if he stays healthy because he's a fundamentally sound tackler with above-average instincts and range. -- Steve Muench

How he fits: The Saints continue to target defense with Anzalone, who will provide immediate depth. After signing A.J. Klein, the Saints now have quality depth at the second level. -- Kevin Weidl



3 (39) Trey Hendrickson, DE, Florida Atlantic | Highlights

What he brings: Hendrickson dominated "Group of Five" competition, thanks to his rentlessness as a pass-rusher. He has an excellent size-speed combination, but his shorter arms and lack of flexibility bending the edge are concerns. -- Kevin Weidl

How he fits: New Orleans ranked 27th in the NFL with 30 sacks last season and needs an edge rusher to complement Cameron Jordan (7.5 sacks). Hendrickson has the potential to become that player. -- Steve Muench



6 (12) Al-Quadin Muhammad, DE, Miami

What he brings: A boom-or-bust prospect, Muhammad is an intriguing DE/3-4 OLB prospect with long arms and a quick first step. He has missed two seasons, including last year because of off-the-field issues, and he didn't test as well as expected at the combine. -- Steve Muench



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