Mock draft season is upon us after the NFL season wrapped up with the Kansas City Chiefs hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. The New Orleans Saints will have their options of what side of the ball to focus on with their first pick of the 2023 NFL Draft with the 29th overall selection. In Todd McShay’s 2.0 NFL Mock Draft, the Saints select edge rusher Keion White out of Georgia Tech. Here was McShay’s reasoning for New Orleans choosing to zone in on adding a key piece to their defensive line:
“The Saints got back into round one with the Sean Payton trade and have a chance to land a replacement for Marcus Davenport if the veteran pass-rusher departs in free agency–which seems likely given the Saints’ salary-cap situation. White is coming off a 7.5-sack season and just had a good week in Mobile, Alabama, at the Senior Bowl. The pass rush was a strength in New Orleans last season (48 sacks, tied for fifth), but Cameron Jordan is turning 34, and defensive tackle David Onyemata is scheduled to join Davenport in free agency.”
Defensive Line Remains A Pressing Need for New Orleans:
Cameron Jordan is coming off a record-breaking season in 2022 as he became the franchise’s all-time sacks leader in passing Rickey Jackson. There will be concern as David Onyemata and Marcus Davenport will now be heading into free agency that will open the door for the Saints to be aggressive to go after a pass rusher this offseason.
New Orleans was able to record 48 sacks during the 2022 season with 18.5 being produced from the edge rushers. Jordan led the way for the Saints with 8.5 sacks in 790 snaps and Carl Granderson would be vital down the stretch as he set a career high with 5.5 sacks. Decisions will have to be made on whether the Saints want to retain Onyemata and Davenport as they will both become free agents when the calendar turns to March.
Keion White Scouting Report:
Hear from The Draft Network on what makes White the perfect fit for the New Orleans Saints defensive line. White is a freakish athlete and he would be able to bring his elite play strength to set the edge.
“White is a “hop off the bus” prospect. Meaning, he looks every bit like an NFL player and garners your attention immediately. White is an incredible athlete and moves in ways that a 290-pound human being should not be able to. There is a rep versus Virginia where White turns and runs with a running back down the sideline on a wheel route and was step-for-step with him. On tape, he can operate with his hand in the dirt or as a stand-up edge. White has the potential flexibility to reduce inside and pressure the quarterback from the interior. He possesses the power to soften edges and flatten angles to the football. White can drive blockers backward with his heavy punches and lower-body strength. White has a high motor and does not give up on plays.”
White started his collegiate career at Old Dominion before transferring to Georgia Tech prior to the 2021 season. During his time with the Monarchs, White was named a second-team all-Conference USA honors as a sophomore in 2019. For the 2022 season, White would see action with the Yellow Jackets in 12 games. He would register 34 tackles and 14 assists while making 29 stops.
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