Picking Marshon Lattimore was perfect for the New Orleans Saints, but what if Christian McCaffrey fell to them at 11?
Defense was the New Orleans Saints’ biggest need entering the 2017 NFL Draft, but the idea of drafting a running back always came up. Christian McCaffrey went off the board at No. 8 to the Carolina Panthers. What if their NFC South rivals had passed on him, though? What would the Saints look like with McCaffrey and Ingram as a tag team?
Obviously, this is all hypothetical and there probably wasn’t even really a chance for the Saints to end up with McCaffrey. You’ve now entered the NFL Twilight Zone, where anything can happen and draft busts are a myth.
If the Saints had selected McCaffrey 11th overall, the Carolina Panthers would have passed on him…probably for defense, maybe Marshon Lattimore. The Bengals and the Chiefs would have passed on him, which is reasonable. The Bengals weren’t looking for a back in the first round and the Chiefs traded up to get a quarterback.
Selecting McCaffrey would have solidified their run game, at least for the future. The team is kind of in limbo right now with Ingram and Peterson both fighting to be the starter. Then, add in third-round rookie Alvin Kamara and it brings even more uncertainty. McCaffrey would have been the missing link the team needed to shut the door on their running back competition.
Obviously, the Saints didn’t think they had a chance because they signed AP. If McCaffrey had fallen to them, Peterson might still be looking for a team. Even if he didn’t fall to them, they could have traded up for him and even threw in Mark Ingram as an incentive. With so few draft picks, New Orleans would have had to be completely sure.
Drafting McCaffrey would have been huge for the offense, but what about the defense? Not drafting defense would have been a mistake. Their offense performs at such a high level that their defense can’t live up to. They could have used their second first-round pick to pick up defense, but no player taken there would have the impact Lattimore could have.