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Who the latest projections have the Saints adding with a new first-round pick

Wide receivers and defensive ends are popular with the New Orleans Saints in the latest mock drafts, but they have few options to invest in a first-round quarterback. This week’s big Sean Payton trade brought a first rounder to New Orleans, and mock draft experts and forecasters from around the NFL’s orbit have updated their projections to reflect the change now that the Saints are picking at No. 29 overall (or No. 30, if you’re counting the Miami Dolphins’ forfeited first-round selection).

But who do they have the Saints picking? Let’s survey the latest round of mock drafts and see who’s buzzing:

Draft Wire: OL O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida

AP Photo/Gary McCullough

Luke Easterling has the Saints picking Florida Gators right guard O’Cyrus Torrence, who played left guard earlier in his career and could replace Andrus Peat if the three-time Pro Bowler is a salary cap casualty. Easterling also projects the Saints to spend their second-round pick on Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee, who we previously discussed in more detail here and considered alternatives for in a re-draft here.

The Ringer: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State

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Danny Kelly likes the Saints to reunite Chris Olave with one of his college teammates, adding another playmaking wide receiver to the New Orleans offense. Smith-Njigba was wildly productive for the Buckeyes in 2021, having set a school record with 95 catches for 1,606 receiving yards, but a hamstring injury sidelined him for all but three games in 2022.

NFL.com: OL O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida

AP Photo/Gary McCullough

Eric Edholm also projects the Saints to pick Torrence in the first round, which would fit the team’s draft tendencies. Since hiring Jeff Ireland to run their college scouting department in 2015, New Orleans has spent nine top-50 picks on offensive or defensive linemen. They put a very strong emphasis on the trenches and regularly spend high selections on those players.

Pro Football Network: DE Isaiah Foskey, Notre Dame

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Here’s Arif Hasan with a surprising pick. Foskey is a proven, consistent pass rusher who owns Notre Dame’s school record for career sacks (26.5). He’s generated 26.5 tackles for loss and 7 forced fumbles in his last 25 games, all starts. He would be an able replacement for Marcus Davenport and is someone who could take over for Cameron Jordan in a year or two at the top of the defensive ends rotation.

Yahoo! Sports: DE BJ Ojulari, LSU

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Charles McDonald also sees the need for more juice off the edge in New Orleans, so he has the Saints picking a fan-favorite from just up the road in Baton Rouge. Ojulari has been a big pressure player for the LSU Tigers (with 127 combined sacks, hits, and hurries in his career at Pro Football Focus) and he’d be a great speed compliment to Jordan’s power off the other end.

College Football News: DE Zach Harrison, Ohio State

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Pete Fiutak links the Saints to another pass rusher, and another Buckeye. Harrison fits the prototype New Orleans has valued in the past (listed at 6-foot-6 and 272 pounds) and he’s already a dominant run defender. He’s been making plays on passing downs since his freshman year as a third-down specialist. He’d be a steady presence up front for the Saints.

CBS Sports: WR Jordan Addison, USC

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Josh Edwards is in the camp calling for the Saints to draft a first-round receiver in back-to-back years. Addison didn’t meet his previous heights after transferring to USC from Pitt (where he totaled 100 receptions for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdown catches in 2021) but he was still hard to cover and he only dropped two passes all year long.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire

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