The 2024 NFL Draft is coming up this weekend. Its become one of the biggest sports weekend of the year, because the NFL has grown beyond the traditional limitations of "sports" in American culture. The league is so big that things like the player entry draft is no bigger than the championships for other American sports leagues.

So many fans will be paying attention to the draft, the attitude of a team's offseason could be dictated by their first round pick. If the fanbase and media loves the pick, the team will have a good offseason when it comes to outside pressure. But if the fans and media feels like a team messed up, there will be a lot of extra questions the team will have to face to start the year.

The New Orleans Saints haven't traditionally been a franchise that cares what the media and fans think of their draft picks. They've made a habit of picking against fan wishes, and even subverting what experts think the team should/will do in the draft. The most recent example is probably the 2022 NFL Draft, where the Saints spent the 19th overall pick on offensive tackle Trevor Penning from Northern Iowa. They took Penning over Tulsa's Tyler Smith and Iowa's Tyler Linderbaum, two offensive lineman who have both made Pro Bowl rosters already. Penning is still a "project" that many don't expect to be ready to start at the NFL level yet. He may even be a trade piece during the draft.

This habit also includes the seemingly intentional avoidance of LSU players in the first round, even when they make perfect sense for the franchise. Like in 2020 when the Saints passed on LSU linebacker Patrick Queen in favor of Michigan center Cesar Ruiz. Or in 2013 when the Saints took a safety, and picked Texas' Kenny Vaccaro instead of LSU's Eric Reid. By the way, Reid would go on to make the Pro Bowl, while Vaccaro would leave New Orleans after his rookie contract.

This year, the Saints will likely avoid both of those trends, as the team seems poised to take the best player at one position. They will be looking to take an offensive tackle with their first round pick, and there aren't any LSU prospects that fit this scenario.

The Saints have the 14th overall pick in the draft, and have a couple of offensive tackle prospects they will be following. But it won't be totally up to the Saints who they draft at #14, because what the teams ahead of them do will decide who they pick.

Looking at the consensus of expert mock drafts online, the Saints will end up getting one of three players. One of those options is Alabama tackle JC Latham.

Alabama v Arkansas
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Latham might be the best scenario for the Saints. He's a massive human with freak athletic skills. He has the pedigree of playing at Alabama, and is only 21-years-old.

One of the other possibilities is Oregon State's Taliese Fuaga.

Montana State v Oregon State
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Fuaga has been rated as the second best offensive lineman in the draft by some experts. Notre Dame's Joe Alt is generally regarded as the best lineman this year, but he will probably be off the board when the Saints pick. So Fuaga being the next best isn't bad if the Saints get him. He had an incredible college career, where he didn't allow a sack over two seasons as a starting tackle.

If all of those options are gone when the Saints pick, that might leave them with Washington tackle Troy Fautanu...which would be a good backup plan.

Colorado v Washington
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Fautanu might not have the freak athletic stuff Latham or Fuaga have, but he's a technician, and scouts love him. He might not have all the measurables the other tackle prospects have, but when he's on the field, he's exactly what the Saints are looking for.

Notre Dame Spring Football Game
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Again, this will be very dependent on what the teams in front of the Saints do. Which could also put Joe Alt on their radar in a weird way too. Because if there's a run on quarterbacks early, and teams are trading up to get QBs (or wide receivers or whatever the position is) a player like Alt could start falling. If he is still on the board around the 10th pick, you could see a team like the Saints try to find a way to trade up to take him.

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