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#pounditSaturday, July 2, 2022

Saints GM explains decision behind big draft trade with Eagles

Mickey Loomis in a suit

Nov 19, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; Mickey Loomis, the executive vice president and General Manager of the New Orleans Saints before the game against the Washington Redskins at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints will be one of the more active teams when the NFL Draft begins on Thursday night. They have a pair of picks in the top 20 and plan to use them.

During the Saints’ pre-draft press conference on Wednesday, GM Mickey Loomis was asked to explain why he made the decision to exchange draft picks with the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this month.

In the deal, the Eagles traded pick Nos. 16, 19 and 194 to the Saints in exchange for pick No. 18, a 2023 first-round pick, a second-round pick in 2024 and two additional picks in Rounds 3 and 7 in 2022.

Loomis shared his reasoning behind the trade.

“For us, it’s an opportunity to get another good player a year ahead of time, for a value that we like,” Loomis told reporters.

“We wouldn’t make a deal if we didn’t think we were going to end up with a good player in that spot, but it’s never foolproof.”

The trade with Philly indicate the Saints intend to compete rather than rebuild. The Saints could have their choice of multiple NFL-ready players at positions of need by the middle of Round 1, which is why it would make sense to hold on to both the No. 16 and No. 19 picks.

The wide receiver class figures to move quickly, and if the Saints want to improve on their league-worst 202.2 receiving yards per game in 2021, drafting a wide receiver would seem to be a necessity. It’s one of the deeper positions in the draft, and Jameson Williams, Chris Olave, Drake London or Garrett Wilson could still be available at pick 16 or 19.

Offensive tackle is another position of need for the Saints after the departure of Terron Armstead, who signed a five-year deal with the Miami Dolphins this offseason.

Mississippi State’s Charles Cross, Central Michigan’s Bernhard Raimann and Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning could all still be on the board for the Saints with either pick.

The Saints have had reported interest in one quarterback as well, although Loomis did not want to discuss the position on Wednesday.

Fans won’t have to wait much longer to get their answer as to what exactly the Saints will do in the first round.

Round 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft begins on Thursday, followed by Rounds 2 and 3 on April 29, and the final four rounds on April 30.

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