Posted April 29th, 2011 by jbraun
Last night’s draft gave Saints’ fans high hope. With the 24th pick, the Saints select Cameron Jordan, defensive end from the University of California. Jordan brings much need athleticism to the Saints’ defensive line, and will hopefully prove to bolster the Saints’ pass rush. Last season the Saints generated 33 sacks, only 18th in the NFL. With strong quarterbacks Matt Ryan of the Falcons and Josh Freeman of the Buccaneers, the Saints will need a strong pass rush to compete for the division title. Though “Matty Ice” has shown great poise in the pocket, a strong pass rush will be able to force Josh Freeman to make mistakes. The Saints will also need a strong pass rush to contain the Panthers’ versatile Cam Newton. Additionally, a stronger pass rush should help the Saints’ secondary improve on its league-low nine interceptions last season.
Perhaps the shocker of the night was the Saints’ last minute trade with the New England Patriots to move into the 28th spot in the first round, which the Saints used to select Alabama running back Mark Ingram, Jr. The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner was an excellent selection, and should immediately bolster the Saints’ rushing attack, which had slipped to 28th in the NFL, averaging only 94.9 yards per game. Last season’s running back-by-committee approach failed to take the pressure off the passing game. It is likely Ingram’s arrival spells the end of Reggie Bush’s career with the Saints. What Ingram lacks in Bush’s game-breaking speed he makes up for with his ability to pound the ball between the tackle and be an every-down workhorse running back.
The Saints only have four draft picks left; two each in the third and seventh rounds. The Saints need to use its third round picks to upgrade its defense, with an emphasis on a run-stuffing linebacker and help in an aging and under-producing secondary.
Posted March 27th, 2011 by gboshears
Not too much to report this weekend. On Friday the NFL announced compensatory draft picks awarded to each team. The Saints added one pick in the 7th round (242nd overall pick). The Saints have a private workout scheduled with Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor on March 28th. Taylor has been projected by some experts as a wide receive in the NFL but has stated that he wants to continue playing quarterback. The Saints also have a workout scheduled with University of Texas cornerback Curtis Brown. The Saints appear to be set at corner but in a division where they have to face Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman twice a year, you can never have too many quality defensive backs.
Early this week, I’ll be posting my mock draft for the New Orleans Saints, stay tuned.
Posted March 23rd, 2011 by gboshears
For those who don’t know, the NFL voted to change kickoffs, moving the spot of the kickoff to the 35 yard line. While I’m not a big fan of the rule, kickoff returns can be some of the most exciting plays in the game, I don’t see it has having much impact on the Saints. Punter Thomas Morstead handled most of the kickoff duties last season and both he and Garrett Hartley have strong enough legs to kick the ball into the end zone from the 35 yard line. The Saints actually struggled some in kickoff coverage last season so I don’t see this as a bad change for the Saints. On the opposite end, Courtney Roby was not the most explosive on kick returns last season and the Saints also struggled here due to injuries. Overall, while I am not a fan of the rule change, it shouldn’t impact the Saints too much either way.
The NFL also did not announce compensatory draft picks at the owner’s meeting this year as has usually been done in the past. Compensatory draft picks will be announced at a later date. The Saints will likely add a 7th or 6th round compensatory pick. Also no schedule announcements yet. The Saints could possibly be playing in the opening game of the season at Lambeau Field against the Packers.
Posted March 20th, 2011 by gboshears
The NFL meeting kicks off tomorrow in New Orleans. Expect a lot of it to focus on the labor situation but there will also be the usual business. Owners will be considering changes to rules including possible changes to instant replay and kickoff rules. Compensatory draft picks will also be handed out. It’s tough to predict compensatory draft picks but I expect that the Saints will see a 7th round pick for losing Scott Fujita in free agency last year.
We might also see a preview of the 2011 schedule. The full schedule probably won’t be announced until sometime in April but there have been times when the league has announced the opening weekend prime time games at the league meeting in March. I think there is a good chance the Saints may be playing the Packers in the opening night Thursday game. A meeting between the last two Super Bowl champions would certainly get the attention the NFL looks for in the opening game.
I’ll cover how any rule changes may affect the Saints and report on any schedule or compensatory draft pick announcements.