The New Orleans Saints made a pair of sizable draft day trades this week, just moments apart after the Saints traded away the 26th and 31st picks of the 2017 NFL Draft to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for the 13th pick, which they used to select Ohio State’s Marshon Lattimore.

It’s a new era in New Orleans. After the Saints’ 2017 draft class (which included the franchise’s first pick in the 1st round, No. 32 overall) was locked up for less than $171 million, the team released star running back Mark Ingram, who was signed to a four-year, $16.5 million deal last year. In his place is Kamara, now in his second season with the Saints. The former Tennessee Volunteer was drafted last year with the idea that he could create the same kind of buzz around the city as Ingram, who led the Saints to the playoffs in each of his three seasons with the team.

The New Orleans Saints are a big fan of the NFL Draft, and the Saints are paying the price for that love. On Saturday, the Saints made a record-setting $171 million in total draft picks, which is over $100 million more than any other team in the NFL. The Saints have made dozens and dozens of picks over the past decade, and one of the most important picks (by far) that the Saints have made is getting Marshon Lattimore in 2016. Lattimore is a superstar cornerback who just turned 20 and will be a key piece of the Saints’ franchise for the next decade.

Do you think the New Orleans Saints knew what they were doing in the 2017 NFL Draft?

Despite not winning the Super Bowl each of the past four seasons, the Saints have benefited from the contributions of some of their own stars. In particular, several members of the 2017 draft have established themselves as elite players at their positions.

New Orleans was wise enough to give two of these players long-term contracts, but the club will have to take expensive risks to keep the most important member of this stellar class.

The Saints used significant financial resources to retain two stars from their 2017 draft class.

Second contract for 2017 Saints rookies …

– Marshawn Lattimore: ? ??
– Ryan Ramczyk: Five years, $96 million.
– Marcus Williams: $10.6 million franchise tag.
– Alvin Kamara: Five years, $75 million.
– Trey Hendrickson: 4 years, $60 million (Bengals).

Very funny. https://t.co/x2cIptRNDa

– Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) June 30, 2021

What the Saints did during the 2017 draft could be considered the best front office move in league history. In the end, they found long-term solutions at critical positions on both sides of the ball. And it didn’t take long for two of these players to capitalize on their success.

Alvin Kamara may have finished third, but he proved the opposite of the pre-estimates by becoming one of the most dynamic playmakers in the league. This versatile defender is surprisingly strong, incredibly agile and difficult to tackle. He plays an equally important role in Sean Payton’s creative offensive scheme as an offensive lineman and receiver.

Kamara’s unique combination of skills and high level of performance earned him a well-deserved promotion on the eve of the Saints’ 2020 season opener. The 2017 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year signed a five-year, $75 million contract, including a $15 million signing bonus. He led the NFL with 21 touchdowns, scored by a combination of receptions and runs, and was selected to the Pro Bowl for the fourth consecutive season.

Of course, working behind a dominant right guard helped.

Ryan Ramczyk, who was drafted 32nd overall by the Saints in 2017, earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2019. He once again ran over defenders and linebackers to take out Kamara and the rest of the Saints’ running backs. The 6-foot-1 right wing guard was selected to the All-Pro second team, which only improved his resume on the trade table. Thanks to yet another dominant campaign, Ramczyk officially became the highest paid player at his position on Wednesday, signing a five-year, $96 million contract.

New Orleans will have to take big risks to prevent Marshawn Lattimore’s departure

Saints SB Marshawn Lattimore declined to talk about his preseason arrest or contract negotiations. … He said he thought he was the best defender in the league because he was so confident. But he said last season’s performance was not good enough and could be improved.

– Mike Triplett (@MikeTriplett) June 8, 2021

With Kamara and Ramczyk, the Saints have signed two members of their 2017 draft class to contracts worth a combined $171 million. However, the franchise will have to take an expensive gamble to retain the key player who emerged in the draft four years ago: Marshawn Lattimore.

The former Ohio State star, who finished with 11. He was picked first (one step ahead of Deshaun Watson) and immediately became the team’s first playmaker. The 6-foot-4, 192-pound Cleveland native was named an NFL rookie quarterback after throwing five interceptions and 18 defensive snaps in 13 starts. However, there have been a number of problems over the past three seasons that would make the Saints think twice before guaranteeing Lattimore $50 million or more.

First: New Orleans can’t ignore the longevity factor. Hamstring problems have plagued Lattimore since his college days (he missed 10 games in 2015 with a hamstring injury), and over the course of his NFL career he has suffered a sprained left ankle, a concussion and an abdominal injury, according to Sports Injury Predictor.

Plus, Lattimore didn’t exactly play at the All-Pro level in 2020. Of course, he only allowed quarterbacks to complete 52.9% of the passes thrown to him. However, he gave up seven touchdowns on 85 targets. In the 2018-19 season, Lattimore allowed just six goals on 178 goals.

The three-time Pro Bowler revealed a possible character flaw last March. According to ESPN, Lattimore was released on the 25th. Mars was arrested for possession of a loaded handgun, believed to be stolen. While it remains to be seen how the deal will play out, the situation certainly doesn’t look good for the man trying to get a new contract.

Unfortunately for the Saints, they can’t afford to let Lattimore go. They need him on the team to contend for the championship, especially since they play in the same division as Tom Brady. So while Lattimore will likely get a contract that will make him one of the highest paid players (if not out of ) at his position, New Orleans has no choice but to take the risk and hope he can fix the catchers and avoid any off-field issues in the future.

Can the Saints’ remarkable 2017 draft class lead the team to a Super Bowl title?

Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas and Marshawn Lattimore celebrate with New Orleans Saints fans after the 2017 game against the Atlanta Falcons. | Sean Gardner/Getty Images

There’s no doubt the Saints took a big gamble on Kamara, Ramczyk and Lattimore. Despite losing linebacker Trey Hendrickson in Free Agency, they have another key player from the 2017 draft – linebacker Marcus Williams.

But can this four-man formation lead a Saints team without Drew Brees to a Super Bowl title?

The offense desperately needs Kamara to be more effective than ever. Ramczyk helps, but the quarterback’s lack of certainty makes it difficult to predict what New Orleans’ offense will look like. If defenders don’t respect the pass, Camara will have a hard time doing anything. So in many ways, the future of the center – at least in 2021 – depends heavily on the people who will work in the center.

On the other side of the line of scrimmage, the Saints seem to have the makings of a top 10 defense. Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport should do some damage from the edge. Demario Davis, third-round pick Zach Bowne and second-round pick Pete Warner form a group of quick, physical midfielders. Lattimore and Williams lead a secondary that also includes veterans Patrick Robinson and Malcolm Jenkins.

In the end, even if Lattimore, Kamara, Ramczyk and Williams continue to play at a high level, the Saints will never drive out their playoff demons without the best play at the most important position in the sport.

Again, he should be better than Brees’ performance with three interceptions in his final game of the postseason.

All statistics are from Pro Football Reference. All contract details are provided by Spotrac.

COMPARED TO: Jerome Bettis and former Steelers players reveal shocking details about their life-threatening health problems: We were like a walking pharmacy in one respectNo, the New Orleans Saints are not going to the Super Bowl. Yes, they are not for sale. No, they are not going to trade Drew Brees. And no, Adrian Peterson is not going to be the next Alvin Kamara. But they could be done with the draft, because the team hasn’t been this deep in the NFL draft in years.. Read more about marshon lattimore stats and let us know what you think.

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