Hey gang it’s been awhile since I put the pen to paper, so with the batteries recharged what is a better time to get back in the saddle than this? The way I look at it as there are five key parts to the off-season. 1) Free agency 2) Draft 3) OTA’s/Mini camp 4) Training camp and 5) Pre-season/cut down.
There have been only a couple of drafts under Sean Payton where the cone of uncertainly was narrow enough that we could zero in and if player X was there the Saints would probably draft him. The 2013 draft with Kenny Vaccaro, last year with Sheldon Rankins and maybe back in 2009 with Malcolm Jenkins.
Everything else under Payton has been a crap shoot as far as predicting what they will do with their 1st pick. Remember when the Saints traded up with the Patriots in 2008 to pick Sedrick Ellis? Neither do I considering it gave me traumatic amnesia. How about when the Texans passed on Reggie Bush and he fell into the Saints lap with the number two overall pick. And if any analyst tells you he or she predicted the Saints would take Andrus Peat back in 2015 I would tell you their nose is longer pinocchio.
I have a feeling the Saints are going to pull something out of left field this Thursday and shock us all.
Draft Week is finally here
This article isn’t about player breakdowns or some ridiculous mock draft, It’s more of an overview and thoughts on where we are at heading to this Thursday’s draft.
Of course all the attention will be focused on who the Saints draft with the 11th pick as it should be. I truly think that an impact bookend defensive end opposite Cam Jordan is a must. Whether they trade up for Solomon Thomas, hope that Derek Barnett is there at 11 or trade back a few and pick up Taco Charlton, either way I’m good with it.
To be honest if the Saints draft any defensive impact player with their 1st pick I’m a happy man.
I know a lot a Saints fans have been talking about that 32nd pick that the Saints acquired in the Brandin Cooks trade (which I was totally fine with) and what to do with it. Trade it back to New England for cornerback Malcolm Butler?, keep it and stay put or package in a deal to trade up or down.
My feeling is that Butler immediately upgrades your defense, plain and simple.
I understand the argument against such a trade with the huge contract looming and the repercussions of recent free agent misses (mainly Jairus Byrd) but you can’t sit on your hands and not be aggressive when you can potentially have a very good starting cornerback opposite Delvin Breaux for the next four or five years. It not only upgrades a sub par defense but it gives you much more flexibility come this week’s draft.
Even if the Saints do make the trade for Butler I still think they should draft a corner, this a deep defensive back draft and truth be told I doubt that Breaux, PJ William or Sterling Moore (Butler ?) will make it through the season healthy. History proves year in year out the injury bug hammers the Saints secondary, I hope for the best but understand the odds are stacked against us.
In a year that is really, really weak on the offensive line the Saints could take a flyer on a player such as Vanderbilt’s Will Holden with the second of their 3rd round picks. Offensive tackle is a major concern of mine, can anybody tell me without googling who are the back up tackles behind an often injured Terron Armstead and an aging Zach Strief? Yes Andrus Peat can swing both sides but we all know he’s at his very best anchoring down the left guard spot.
Running back while not a pressing need could be addressed with a later round pick or as the Saints have done in the past, strike gold with an un-drafted free agent (Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory, Lynell Hamilton, Khiry Robinson and Travaris Cadet come to mind) In recent interviews Sean Payton went out of his way to say how deep this draft is at running back, perhaps just a smoke screen throwing this out to other teams or maybe not.
Thursday can’t come fast enough.
You may have noticed I haven’t mentioned the linebacker position, it’s only because I think defensive end and cornerback are the most pressing and immediate needs on this defense. That’s not saying I don’t think they need one (I do) or draft one (probable) but the free agent signing of A.J. Klein and the emergence of Craig Robertson gives them some wiggle room going into this draft.
I’m okay with Klien at Mike, Robertson at Sam and Dannell Ellerbe at Will with Stephone Anthony, Nate Stupar, Te’o Mante and Kikaha Hau’oli providing depth. I’m hoping Kikaha returns to form after the knee injury and he can resume his Jack position getting after the QB, which is a spot I really think fits newly acquired Alex Okafor well instead of an every down DE.
That being said it would be nice to have a Patrick Willis type of impact player leading the linebacker corps but hey I’m greedy, what can I say?
This past week the 2017 schedule was released and the most common reaction I seen was horror greeting the first four games of the season.
I’m the opposite.
We open the season on one of the biggest stages in football ~ Monday night football. I don’t care who we play this will be fun regardless but it will be a special treat to beat a fan base that cries so much that their tears will raise the level of the Mississippi river so much that the bonnet carre’ spillway’s gates will have to be opened in September. Land of 10,000 lakes indeed.
I already have Sept 17th circled on my calendar, what’s a better way to kick off the home opener than against the defending Superbowl champs? You want a measuring stick to see how this years team compares to elite competition well it doesn’t get any better than this.
I’m really looking forward to hanging out with my fellow Who Dats on game days, it’s the one thing I miss more than the game itself. But I will be out there for mini camp and training camp filing reports as always and it’s always fun sitting in that devil heat with the black n gold faithful.
If you made it this far in the article I thank you for reading but please don’t let this distract you from the fact that the Falcons blew a 25 point lead in the Superbowl. So with that lets hope for the best with the three-day draft and as always….WHO DAT!!!