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New Orleans Saints notes from Day 3 of 2023 NFL draft

Saints finish draft with seven selections

With the first pick of the fourth round following a trade with Chicago (103rd overall), the Saints selected Old Dominion offensive lineman Nick Saldiveri.

This is the fourth time that the Saints have picked at 103, with the last time being in 2017 when they selected defensive end Trey Hendrickson.

Saldiveri is the first player the Saints have ever selected from Old Dominion, making ODU the 178th college or university the Saints have selected a player from.

Saldiveri is the third player to be selected in an NFL Draft in Old Dominion history. He is the only Old Dominion alum on the Saints roster.

This is the third consecutive year New Orleans has picked a player from the Sun Belt Conference, after the Saints picked Appalachian State linebacker D'Marco Jackson in the fourth round in 2022.

A four-year letterman (ODU didn't play in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic), the Waxhaw, N.C. native played in 38 games with 35 (34 at right tackle, one at right guard).

In 2022, Saldiveri started 11 games and helped pave the way for ODU RB Blake Watson to set the school's single-game rushing yard record with 259 yards and three touchdowns at Coastal Carolina. Selected as second-team All-Sun Belt and invited to play in the Reese's Senior Bowl

In 2021, as a redshirt sophomore, Saldiveri earned third-team All-Conference USA recognition by Phil Steele and was a Conference USA Honorable Mention selection as he became the first offensive lineman in ODU history to score a touchdown when he recovered a fumble in the bowl-eligibility clinching win over Charlotte. Also helped lead the way for Watson to become the second player in ODU history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season and blocked for a rushing game that set ODU's single-game record for rushing yards with 358 in a win over Hampton.

As a redshirt freshman in 2019, started 11 games at right tackle.

With the 127th overall pick, the Saints selected Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener.

This is the third time that the Saints have picked at 127, with the last time being in 2018 when they selected tackle Rick Leonard from Florida State

Haener is the third all-time former Bulldog the Saints have selected in a draft. He joins QB Derek Carr and FB Adam Prentice (played graduate transfer year at South Carolina) as the third Fresno State alum on the roster.

In four years at Fresno State after transferring from the University of Washington, Haener played in 30 games for the Bulldogs with 29 starts and completed 755 of 1,082 passes (school-record 68.1 completion percentage) for 9,013 yards (fourth all-time in Fresno State record books) and 67 touchdowns (fifth all-time in Bulldog records)

Named the Reese's Senior Bowl Most Valuable Player, where he was coached during the practice week and game by Saints passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach Ronald Curry and offensive assistant DJ Williams

As a fifth-year senior in 2022, Haener started all 10 games he appeared in, completing 252-of-350 pass attempts for 2,896 yards and 20 touchdowns with only three interceptions. Selected as consensus first-team All-Mountain West. Recorded three of the program's top four single-game completion percentages. Had at least passing touchdown in each game, extending his streak to a Mountain West record 29-game streak. Set the program record for best completion percentage in a single season (72.0%), while ranking first among all Mountain West passers in passing yards per game, second in passing yards, completions and passing touchdowns, and third in attempts.

In 2021, started all 13 games and completed 329-of-490 attempts (67.1%) for 4,096 yards (FBS No. 9 ranked and only the fourth Bulldog to surpass 4,000 yards) and 33 touchdowns. Led Fresno State's offense who ranked Top 30 in FBS in total offense (No. 14), passing offense (No. 9), first down offense (No. 14), team passing efficiency (No. 18), scoring offense (No. 26) and red zone offense (No. 30). Served as the signal caller against two road wins against ranked opponents, the first time both wins came on the road in the 100-year history of the program.

As a junior in 2020, was a starter for all six games (COVID-19 shortened season), completing 150-of-232 passes for 2,021 passing yards and 14 touchdowns. Led the team to the top passing offense, top total offense and second-ranked scoring offense in the Mountain West

Haener joined Fresno State as a sophomore in 2019 after transferring from the University of Washington, where he played in four games. Sat out the 2019 season due to NCAA transfer rules

Prepped at Monte Vista (Danville, Calif.) High School, where he finished his career going 597-of-977 passing for 8,464 yards and a school-record 90 touchdowns in 35 games over three years. Led the Mustangs to multiple CIF North Coast Section Division I playoff appearances, including the Championship game as a senior.

With the 146th pick, the Saints selected Minnesota defensive back Jordan Howden.

This is the second time in Saints history that they've selected at 146, the first time being in 1979.

Howden is the sixth pick all-time from Minnesota by the Saints. He is the only former Gopher currently on the roster.

It is the fifth consecutive year that the Saints have selected a player from the Big Ten Conference, with the most recent being the 2022 first round pick Chris Olave, who became the third rookie in Saints history to record over 1,000 receiving yards.

Howden started 49 of 58 career games he played in for the Gophers, recording 240 tackles (168 solo), 5.5 stops for loss, 20 passes defensed and four interceptions. Selected to the Academic All-Big Ten Team for four consecutive years (2019-2022).

As a fifth-year senior in 2022, started all 13 games and made 58 tackles (40 solo), 3.5 stops for loss, five passes defensed and two interceptions.

In 2021 as a senior, Howden started all 12 games he played in, recording 43 tackles, 1.5 stops for loss and five passes defensed.

Howden played in seven games as a junior in 2020, notching 37 tackles and one pass breakup.

In 2019 as a sophomore, he played in all 13 games, starting 12 and finishing with 57 tackles (40 solo), six pass breakups and one interception.

As a freshman in 2018, played in 13 games and started five. Recorded 45 tackles (28 solo), three pass breakups and one interception.

Prepped at Desert Pines (Las Vegas, Nev.) HS, where he played his senior year and helped lead the team to a state championship. Also lettered in track and won the NIAA 3A State Championship in long jump while participating on the relay teams that took first in the 4x100 and 4x200.

With the 195th pick, the Saints selected Wake Forest wide receiver A.T. Perry.

New Orleans moved up to the 195th slot after a trade with Denver in exchange for tight end Adam Trautman and a seventh round pick. This is the third time the Saints have picked at 195, with the last time they picked at this position being in 2000 (cornerback Michael Hawthorne).

Perry is the sixth player to be selected by the Saints from Wake Forest and the only former Deacon currently on the roster.

Perry is the second player from the Atlantic Coast Conference to be selected by the Saints in the 2023 NFL Draft, with Clemson defensive tackle Bryan Bresee being drafted in the first round by New Orleans.

In four years at Wake Forest, Perry played in 43 career games and had 171 receptions (sixth in program history) for 2,662 yards (third in school history) and 28 touchdowns (tied for seventh in ACC history).

As a redshirt junior in 2022, played in 13 games and recorded 81 receptions (fourth in school history) for 1,096 yards and 11 touchdowns. Became the first player in Wake Forest history to record multiple 1,000-yard receiving seasons and two double-digit touchdown seasons (2021 and 2022), and tied the program record with 12 100-yard receiving. Selected as first-team All-ACC for second consecutive season.

Played in 14 games and finished with 71 receptions for 1,293 yards and 15 touchdowns (school single-season record and fifth most in ACC history) as a redshirt sophomore in 2021.

As a redshirt sophomore in 2020, appeared in six games, catching 15 passes for 211 yards.

In 2019 as a redshirt freshman, played in nine games and finished the campaign with four receptions for 62 yards and a touchdown.

Prepped at Park Vista Community (Lake Worth, Fla.) High School, where he earned all-area, all-conference and all-county honors also earning All-Palm Beach County honors in basketball and winning the County track long jump championship.

This is the first time the Saints have selected seven players in a draft since the 2018 NFL Draft. Out of the seven picks, five different conferences were represented among the picks, in addition to independent Notre Dame.

With the selections of Bresee, defensive end Isaiah Foskey and Saldiveri, it marks the first time New Orleans has selected three linemen in the same draft since 2017 (tackle Ryan Ramczyk, Hendrickson and defensive end Trey Hendrickson).

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