Former Badgers OT Ramczyk selected by Saints in first round of NFL Draft
METAIRIE, La. — The New Orleans Saints’ last-ranked pass defense is adding the first cornerback taken in this year’s NFL draft.
New Orleans also acquired more blocking for 38-year-old star quarterback Drew Brees.
The Saints selected Ohio State’s Marshon Lattimore with the 11th overall pick in the NFL draft on Thursday night, then closed out the round by taking Wisconsin offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk 32nd overall.
New Orleans did not enter the draft with an urgent need to improve its offensive line, but the 6-6, 310-pound Ramczyk might have been too good to pass up, having been widely viewed as one of the top offensive linemen in the draft.
“Our grade on Ryan was at the top half of Round 1,” Payton said. “He was a player graded in the first round by every one of our scouts, so we felt good about that.”
Depending on how much Ramczyk plays as a rookie, he could not only be protecting Brees but also run blocking for Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson.
“Very excited to be able to block for guys like that,” Ramczyk said. “Not everybody gets to do that.”
Both of the Saints’ incumbent starters at tackle are slated to come back with Terron Armstead on the left side and Zach Strief on the right. Strief, however, is entering his 12th season.
The 32nd pick was acquired from New England as part of a trade in March that sent receiver Brandin Cooks to the Patriots.
On Friday night, New Orleans was slated to have one selection in the second round and two in the third, with the latter pick in the third round also coming from New England as part of the Cooks deal.
New Orleans is still looking for help with its defensive front, having struggled to pressure opposing quarterbacks. New Orleans’ defense had 30 sacks last season and ranked 27th in the NFL in sacks per pass attempt.
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