62. NEW ORLEANS (14-4)

LAST SEASON: Saints tied best regular-season mark in franchise history, and came agonizingly close to their second Super Bowl trip, only to be hampered by disputed non-calls on hit to head and apparent pass interference by Rams deep in LA territory in final minutes of NFC title game. Saints still took late lead on field goal, but Los Angeles had enough time to tie before winning in overtime. QB Drew Brees, who turned 40 in January and has one season left on contract, had most efficient season of career. Alvin Kamara remained dynamic and productive as rusher and receiver in second year, and defense benefited from formidable pass rush that compiled 49 sacks.

FREE AGENCY: Lost RB Mark Ingram and signed lower cost RBs Latavius Murray and Malcolm Brown to lighten load on Kamara. Newly acquired C Nick Easton was brought in after Max Unger's retirement, while DE Mario Edwards was signed after departure of DE Alex Okafor. New Orleans bolstered air game with addition of receiving tight end Jared Cook and held onto QB Teddy Bridgewater as insurance behind Brees.



POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: Mississippi State C Elgton Jenkins; Alabama S Deionte Thompson; Louisiana Tech DE Jaylon Ferguson.

OUTLOOK: Past trades have left Saints with no pick in first, third or fourth rounds, and last season's success means first slated pick is 62nd overall, at end of second round. With most of last season's team intact, and most immediate needs addressed in free agency, Saints could seek depth and value with late-round picks in second and fifth rounds, and with two picks each in sixth and seventh rounds. At same time, Saints have never been shy about trading up.


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