The New Orleans Saints’ poor play in Week 1 is a good sign for the Green Bay Packers, who own the Saints’ first-round draft pick next year.
The New Orleans Saints looked absolutely terrible in the 2018 season opener. After losing 48-40 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Saints looked like the complete opposite of a team that was supposed to make it to the NFC Championship Game last year.
The offense looked painfully slow in the first few quarters, moving at a pace that was unrecognizable for a team that has Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara on the field. No one could seem to make big plays until towards the end of the lost game.
However, we cannot ignore the fact that the worst performance by far was the Saints’ defense. Facing backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Saints completely disintegrated.
And Green Bay Packers fans have never heard such good news.
In the 2018 NFL Draft, the Packers had the 14th pick. After several surprising picks before them, they had a chance to land a player projected to be picked in the top 10: Derwin James. Athletic. Agile. Explosive. Basically, everything the Packers could have asked for and more in a player picked up halfway through the first round.
I was among those Packers fans that was ready for the commissioner to go down to the podium immediately after the green and yellow G flashed on the screen, but I was left waiting. Why?
Because the Saints called.
The Saints had called to trade their 27th pick for the Packers’ 14th, and a 2019 first-round pick. Along with several others, I couldn’t have been more upset. I immediately shut off the TV. There was no way the front office had messed up this golden opportunity. No way that they missed a talent like Derwin James.
Yet, they did. The Saints would go on to pick Marcus Davenport and the Packers would have an additional first-round pick the following year. And from a team that was supposed to beat the Vikings. Great.
Today, the Saints showed us vulnerability like never before, a team that had gone from possessing the best the NFL had to offer to a team that looked the worst in the league, the types of teams that you look at on the schedule and are glad to be playing.
It brings a new meaning to the 2019 first-round pick for the Packers, as games like these push the pick higher and higher up on the draft boards. The Packers want the Saints to do poorly this season because it will cause their pick to go higher up on the order, giving it more value.
If this play continues, the Packers might have a top 10 pick in next year’s draft. A top rookie won’t break the bank for the salary cap, and it would give the team a chance to look towards the future.
Next year’s draft is loaded with defensive players, boasting talents the like of Nick Bosa, Ed Oliver and Devin White, all players that could fill the Packers’ need for an edge rusher. Several players projected to go early in the first round would be great fits for Green Bay’s style of play.
Not to jinx it, but we can only cross our fingers that this same Saints team shows up for the next few weeks, or even better, the next few months.