The New Orleans Saints have to make some pretty important decisions this offseason when it comes to the 2023 NFL Draft. Do they want to focus on offense or defense? Both struggled at times this year, and both had their times where they shined.
But, with the first pick they have coming in at 40, and there not being a whole lot of offense available at that time in terms of what they need most, it’s looking like they may go defense. At least, that’s what I would do.
If it were up to me, I would go all in on Eli Ricks if he is available at 40.
The Alabama cornerback is considered the 42nd-best player in the draft by Pro Football Focus, and the fifth-best cornerback in the draft. He was part of a pretty good Alabama secondary that saw him, Brian Branch, and Jordan Battle lock up opposing receivers at times.
He played at Alabama, so he has a winners mentality considering he played for the greatest college coach of all time in Nick Saban.
Ricks transferred from LSU to Alabama in 2022 so he didn’t play much, but, per PFF, when he did he allowed just six catches on 19 targets for 77 yards with five pass-breakups on the year.
Ricks has crazy potential to be a ball-stopper when it comes to his matchup-getting targets. He can quite literally shut down guys by being physical on the point of attack, and by pressing off of the line of scrimmage.
If you want a guy who is not afraid to go and line up against the other team’s best guy, Ricks is your guy. The Alabama cornerback is one that has the potential to be much better than some of the guys ranked ahead of him too.
I think he would be a perfect fit for the Saints. He and Alontae Taylor could be one of the young dominant cornerback duos in the league with the right development.
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