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Saints Make Big Splash with Jameis Winston and Picks

The Saints have made some big moves over the last 72 hours and none bigger than signing Jameis Winston.

Signing Winston to a 1-year deal was a surprise after the Saints spent their 7th round pick on Tommy Stevens. No one was expecting Stevens to come in and compete right away as he is viewed as a practice squad talent, but this move assures this. Winston comes in with 5 years as a starter under his belt and some volatile production to boot. Last season, Winston filled up the box score with over 5000 yards passing with 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. Although, he may not be a great starting quarterback, having Winston as a backup feels like a wise move for New Orleans. Winston projects as one of the top backups in the league. The expectation is Winston is coming into backup Drew Brees alongside Taysom Hill.

Hill; who also received an extension today, has always been viewed as a gadget player for the Saints. Sean Payton has stated numerous times he believes Hill would be a viable backup for Brees. However, Taysom Hill has only attempted 15 NFL passes in his career, so bringing in Jameis adds some security in the event Brees cannot play.

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Building for the Future

Michigan center Cesar Ruiz (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Image credit Rich Graessle / Getty Images
First Round – C/G Cesar Ruiz

Ruiz was viewed as the top center in this year’s draft. Although center is not a need for New Orleans, Ruiz can slide to guard where he will be able to compete. This came as a surprise pick as Patrick Queen was still on the board and was viewed as an ideal fit. The Saints chose to prioritize protection for their quarterback in the first round. Cesar Ruiz is projected to compete with Larry Warford this upcoming season.

Grade: B+

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Third Round – LB Zach Braun

Braun was projected to go much earlier in the draft than the third round. The Saints are getting great value with this pick and filling an important need in doing so. Last week I mentioned the importance of getting a linebacker this weekend. Braun can come in and potentially compete for a starting LB spot alongside Demario Davis this season. This was a great pick for New Orleans.

Grade: A

Read more about the Saints Off-Season Here
Fourth Round – TE Adam Trautman

Trautman is a very talented receiving tight end. He will be a great target for Brees to have in 12-personnel sets this season. Saints drafting a tight end is a big move for their offense. Pairing Trautman with Cook gives New Orleans a dynamic duo of pass-catching tight ends that will be a problem for defenses to match up with.

Grade: B+

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Seventh Round – QB Tommy Stevens

While this pick will ultimately be swept under the rug after the Jameis signing, Stevens is a good pick. Stevens is a developmental quarterback who will likely be on the practice squad this season. Stevens is an athletic quarterback who has the tools for a modern NFL quarterback but is a few years away from seeing major snaps in the league.

Grade: B

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