New Orleans Saints 2023 NFL Mock Draft: Baylor Behemoth Siaki Ika Shores Up the Defensive Front

This Saints NFL Mock Draft aims to return New Orleans to the NFL playoffs after missing out on the postseason for the second successive season.

After four consecutive seasons in the playoffs, the New Orleans Saints have now sat out the NFL postseason in back-to-back years. Without a first-round pick in April, this Saints NFL Mock Draft attempts to address several glaring needs ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft as Dennis Allen tries to guide his team back to the promised land.

In this scenario, simulated trades were active among other teams via the Mock Draft Simulator, but the Saints held steady and did not make any moves.

Latest New Orleans Saints 2023 NFL Mock Draft

Siaki Ika, DT, Baylor | Round 2, Pick 40

The Chris Olave trade leaves New Orleans without a first-round pick. Olave has been a revelation this season, leading the team in yards and receptions, so there’s a case to be made that he was worth every penny of capital sacrificed last spring.

You could argue that, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that without a first-round selection in April, the Saints are effectively out of the market at their greatest position of need. Finding a long-term successor to Drew Brees hasn’t been easy. The talented but inconsistent and oft-injured Jameis Winston is under contract for another year, but is he really the future of the franchise under center? Andy Dalton certainly isn’t.

With Hendon Hooker taken the spot before them in this Saints NFL Mock Draft, New Orleans is completely stuck in QB no man’s land with their first pick. So, in which direction do they turn?

The starting heart of the Saints’ defensive line — Shy Tuttle and David Onyemata — are out of contract at the end of the year, making additions to the interior necessary.

Enter Siaki Ika, a mountain of a man who could attract first-round attention in April despite perceived nose tackle value. The 6’4″, 350-plus-pound Baylor defensive epitomizes “two on me, somebody free” as he eats up double-team blocks and allows teammates to thrive. Ika is also a dangerous threat himself, with the power, athleticism, and temperament to be a force in the backfield and even in downfield pursuit.

Tank Bigsby, RB, Auburn | Round 3, Pick 71

Once the top four quarterbacks are off the board, you really do enter a zone where you’re substantially overpaying by selecting one on Day 2. As a result, New Orleans spurns the position once more in this Saints NFL Mock Draft, instead focusing on adding reinforcements at another position of need.

Behind Alvin Kamara, there is much uncertainty. There’s even uncertainty with their star rusher, who is awaiting trial and a potential suspension following his alleged involvement in a Las Vegas fight last year.

MORE: New Orleans Saints Offseason Preview 2023

Tank Bigsby isn’t Kamara. Few running backs are. Nevertheless, Bigsby offers the Saints an exciting skill set as an extremely serviceable rusher with some receiving upside.

While his name and frame (6’0″, 214 pounds) might lead you to believe Bigsby’s purely a bruising north-to-south rusher, that isn’t the case. The Auburn RB is blessed with excellent vision, good speed, and the fleetness of footwork to take advantage of even the smallest amount of space.

Jaren Hall, QB, BYU | Round 4, Pick 112

Although they may miss out on the top quarterbacks in the class — ensuring another starting season for Winston — New Orleans can’t leave the 2023 NFL Draft without having snagged a passer to evaluate as a potential long-term option. The fourth round of this Saints NFL Mock Draft is the perfect spot for them to do just that, ensnaring former BYU quarterback Jaren Hall. There is, of course, familiarity with Cougar QBs in New Orleans.

Hall is an interesting prospect, whose stock will undoubtedly suffer due to him being an older rookie. However, there’s much to love about Zach Wilson’s replacement in Provo. The BYU prospect boasts exciting arm talent, with the ability to drive the ball to the deep third while putting excellent velocity into throws from multiple arm angles. Additionally, Hall has promising out-of-structure athleticism that allows him to create yardage for himself.

Charlie Jones, WR, Purdue | Round 5, Pick 143

Outside of Olave, New Orleans is somewhat of a barren wasteland at the receiver position. With his injury history, it feels like Michael Thomas may never play again. It would be tantamount to negligence for whoever the quarterback is next season not to add multiple pass catchers during the offseason process, including in the 2023 NFL Draft.

MORE: Top 10 WRs in the 2023 NFL Draft

As a result, this Saints NFL Mock Draft turns one of their multiple fifth-round picks into Purdue pass catcher Charlie Jones. An elite return man at Iowa, Jones has developed into a highly-regarded receiving prospect during his one college football season with the Boilermakers. He creates easy separation with excellent route-running ability, including the ability to vary his route tempo. Meanwhile, for a 6’0″, 187-pound receiver, he contests the catch point with ferocity.

Jammie Robinson, S, Florida State | Round 5, Pick 163

While Marcus Maye and Tyrann Mathieu will hold down the starting safety role next season — presuming Maye can stay healthy — there has to be a long-term plan at the position. The selection of Jammie Robinson in this Saints NFL Mock Draft is the solution.

The FSU safety has been extremely impactful for the Seminoles this season, with his ability to lay the wood in the box particularly eye-catching. Meanwhile, Robinson has the athleticism, click and close speed, and football IQ to be effective as a coverage safety in both man and zone schemes.

Jerome Carvin, G, Tennessee | Round 7, Pick 205

New Orleans adds some offensive line depth with the final pick of this Saints NFL Mock Draft. There’s a high level of talent on this team, particularly on the interior, but Andrus Peat has struggled to remain healthy during his Saints career, and having a high-quality backup isn’t to be sniffed at.

Jerome Carvin heads to the 2023 NFL Draft after an exceptional season for Tennessee, where he showcased a solid anchor, functional play strength, and excellent technical ability. He’s a versatile piece with plenty of experience.

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