1. New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints already showed their hand in a pre-draft trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. In the deal, the Saints received two first-round picks and are now slated to pick No. 16 and No. 19 overall. There’s reason to believe GM Mickey Loomis is content with his team’s current position, but he clearly views Nola as a contender so he could look to move higher in Round 1 before draft night.
As presently constructed, the Saints have glaring needs at wide receiver, offensive tackle following the departure of Terron Armstead, and safety. With tackles Charles Cross and Trevor Penning candidates to come off the board within the first 15 picks, New Orleans could turn to the Commanders as its ace in the hole.
With the No. 11 pick, the Saints could suddenly have their pick of the litter between Cross, Penning, Kyle Hamilton, Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson.
In ESPN’s latest mock, analyst Jordan Reid had the Saints netting Cross and Jameson Williams in the first round. That’d be a tremendous hall, but can New Orleans really bank on both players being available that late? Probably not.
Should Loomis and Co. enter panic mod, Ron Rivera and Martin Mayhew should float their first-round pick as a trade chip. Having sent four draft choices back to Philly — including two firsts, a second, a third and a seventh — the Saints likely wouldn’t hesitate giving the Commanders a haul of picks to move up five more spots.
Something to keep an eye on, for sure.
Honorable dark-horse mentions: the Chargers (No. 17), the Packers (No. 22), and Kansas City, which owns picks No. 29 and No. 30.