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NFL Draft: Saints Eyeing Quarterback with Patriots Draft Pick?

Sep 10, 2016; Tempe, AZ, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders quarterback Patrick Mahomes II warms up prior to the game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 10, 2016; Tempe, AZ, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders quarterback Patrick Mahomes II warms up prior to the game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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New Orleans now has the ammunition to replace Drew Brees

By trading Brandin Cooks to the New England Patriots for the 32nd overall pick, the New Orleans Saints have a multitude of choices with their two first-round picks.

New Orleans is no stranger to owning two first-round draft picks; in 2015 they traded tight end Jimmy Graham to Seattle for the 31st pick while retaining their own at 13.

Offensive tackle Andrus Peat was taken at 13, and linebacker Stephone Anthony went with the 31st pick.

Fast forward to April 2017, and the Saints can go into Philadelphia with two new franchise cornerstones.

What are the chances one of those is a quarterback?

Drew Brees will turn 39 before the end of his 17th NFL season, which will inevitably lead him to the Hall of Fame. Many questioned if Brees would continue beyond the past couple of years due to a foot injury, but the 10-time Pro Bowler still led the league in passing yards for the fifth time in the last six seasons.

Brees’ contract allows the Saints to move on after this year, while still having control of the veteran through multiple one-year options.

Behind Brees are 35-year-old career-backup Luke McCown and third-round pick Garrett Grayson, who has never attempted a pass in a regular-season game.

McCown enters the final year of his contract, while Grayson is signed through the 2018 season before becoming a restricted free agent.

These contractual and statistical questions cause NFL Draft experts to beg the question; will New Orleans finally draft Drew Brees replacement this year?

Despite 2017 not having the strongest quarterback class in recent memory the options are intriguing for the Saints.  Considering this draft is deep where the Saints are weak (front-seven and secondary) I doubt Sean Payton would pass up on an elite pass rusher with a high draft pick.

New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints /

New Orleans Saints

Unless the team falls in love with Mitchell Trubisky or Deshaun Watson neither will be in New Orleans.

Holding the 32nd overall pick the Saints could potentially eye two players: DeShone Kizer and Patrick Mahomes.

If either falls to the end of the first round, which is possible, the Saints should take a hard look.

With Brock Osweiler now out of Houston, the Texans have the opportunity to take a quarterback before the Saints.

Personally, I see Mahomes as the best quarterback in this years draft class coming out of Texas Tech. His arm strength is incredible, and the mobility he possesses reminds you of Brett Favre.

If Mahomes is available, the Saints should evaluate all their options on defense and think if that player will be available when they pick in the second round. That pick comes just ten slots later with the 42nd pick. A cornerback will certainly be available at #42 if the Saints wish to address that position.

New Orleans could wait until 2018 when the quarterback class is expected to feature Sam Darnold, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, and Baker Mayfield. By choosing that route, they run the risk of Brees retiring and not being on the sideline and locker room to mentor the future face of the franchise.

Brees could return in 2017 as the gunslinger he’s been throughout his career and decides 2018 is still a viable option. He could also say his career is over and leave New Orleans with little to no options at the quarterback position.

The whole situation is a gamble for New Orleans, and this extra draft pick brought on by the Cooks trade with New England gives them the ability to take that risk responsibly.