New Orleans Saints 7-Round Mock Draft: Post-Derek Carr Signing

2023 NFL Mock Draft, Mazi Smith. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
2023 NFL Mock Draft, Mazi Smith. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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After the Derek Carr signing, the New Orleans Saints can focus on other positions to build up both sides of the football in this seven round mock draft.

The New Orleans Saints toppled the first domino of the offseason, signing quarterback Derek Carr to a four-year, $150 million deal that includes $70 million guaranteed, 60 of which is at signing. He also backloaded the deal to help the Saints’ cap issues, so Carr is set to make just $7.2 million in 2023.

So, it’s clear the Saints plan on staying with the “we’re all in, we’re contending” mantra that continues to push the credit card envelope and kick the can further down the road. Right now, they’re NFC South favorites.

New Orleans Saints 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft: Post-Derek Carr Projections

There’s still work to do with restructures and everything to get under the cap for 2023, but the 2023 NFL Draft looms for the Saints, who got a first-round pick by trading Sean Payton to the Denver Broncos. That gives them three picks in the top 75, which should be good enough to bring in some early contributors to push the chips further forward. Let’s dive in to a seven-round 2023 NFL Mock Draft for the New Orleans Saints.

Round 1, 29th Overall: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

Despite the idea of patience at the tight end position, Adam Trautman hasn’t panned out from the 2020 draft. With Michael Thomas potentially staying after his post about the Carr signing, and Chris Olave in tow, the New Orleans Saints need a middle of the field maestro. They get one here in Michael Mayer.

Mayer will certainly be a first-round pick, but recency bias might have teams looking to others before him. Darnell Washington tested out of his mind and is a huge target plus a third tackle. Dalton Kincaid has rare quicks. Luke Musgrave is big and fast. Mayer gets a little lost in the shuffle here, but he’s excellent.

Mayer will immediately come in and be the versatile threat that Carr and the Saints need him to be. He can play inline at “Y”, as he vastly improved as a run blocker during the 2022 season. He’s got reliable hands to pluck the ball out of the air, wins above the rim, and can take on contact over the middle of the field and in the red zone. Notre Dame also flexed him out to the slot and out wide, and he won with good short area quicks in his route breaks.