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The Quest for the Lombardi – New Orleans Saints

March 27, 2012 NFLTR Features, Saints

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

2011 Record: 13-3 (5-1) NFC South Champions

  • Won in the NFC Wild Card Round over the DetroitLions, 45-28.
  • Lost in the NFC Divisional Finals to the San Francisco49ers, 36-32.

 

Passing Offense – 334.2 (1st)

 

Passing Defense – 259.8 (30th)

 

Rushing Offense – 132.9 (6th)

  • HB Darren Sporles: 87 – 603 / 2TDs
  • HB Pierre Thomas: 110 – 562 / 5TDs

 

Rushing Defense – 108.6 (12th)

Current Cap Space: 3,285,000$

 

Notable Arrivals:

QB Drew Brees (Franchised Tagged, Yet to Sign)

DT Brodrick Bunkley (Broncos, Signed – 5 yr / 25$ million)

LB Chris Chamberlain (Rams, Signed – 3 yr / undisclosed contract)

OG Ben Grubbs (Ravens, Signed – 5 yr / 36$ million)

LB Curtis Lofton (Falcons, Signed – 5 yr / undisclosed contract)

DE Turk McBride (Re-signed – – 1 yr / undisclosed contract)

 

Notable Departures:

RB Patrick Cobbs (Released)

WR Robert Meachem (Chargers, Signed – 4 yr / 29.5$ million)

OG Carl Nicks (Buccaneers, Signed – 5 yr / 47.5$ million)

CB Tracy Porter (Broncos, Signed – 1 yr / 4$ million)

 

Draft Order:

  • No 1st RdPick (Traded toNew England)
  • No 2nd RdPick (Lost for Bounty Program)
  • 3rd RdPick – 27th
  • 4th RdPick – 27th
  • 5th RdPick – 27th
  • 6th RdPick – 7th (from WAS)
  • 6th RdPick – 9th (from MIA)
  • 7th RdPick – 27th

 

Last Five First Round Picks:

  • 2007 Robert Meachem WR (27th Overall) – Signed with the Chargers (4 yr / 29.5$ million) this off-season. Came out ofTennessee as a deep threat and remained that when he joined the Saints piling up 141 catches, 2269 yards and 23 TDs.
  • 2008 Sedrick Ellis DT (7th Overall) – Came out of USC as a run stuffing machine, that constantly providing a pass rush. But last season the Saints finally noticed that he wasn’t providing the consistent pressure that allowed opponents to tally a 5.0 yards per carry.
  • 2009 Malcolm Jenkins DB (14th Overall) – Before the draft, teams weren’t sure which position to play him at, since he was considered to stiff for a corner, and too small for a safety. But he has shown everyone after the Saints placed him in at safety next to Roman Harper, he made 2nd team All-Pro in 2010 and has been a harder hitting safety since entering the league.
  • 2010 Patrick Robinson CB (32nd Overall) – Since entering the league two years ago, Robinson has been working in the nickel position and has done an admirable job, but with Tracy Porter leaving via free agency (Broncos – 1 yr / 4$ million) he will have to step into the starting role, which shouldn’t be too hard after leading the team in INTs (4) last season.
  • 2011 Cameron Jordan DE (24th Overall) – Jordan came out of Cal to the Saints as a fresh face that could press the pocket, but after starting 15 of 16 games he only provided them with one sack. The Saints will be looking for a lot more from him in the season to come.
  • * 2011 Mark Ingram Jr. HB (28th Overall) – the former 2009 Heisman trophy winner, came out as the supposed replacement for Reggie Bush who bolted for the Dolphins. He showed flashes, even though he had to bide his time in the three horse stable with Darren Sporles and Pierre Thomas. He will be in the same position this season.*

 

*The Saints acquired this pick from the New England Patriots for a 2nd round pick (HB Shane Vereen, Cal) and a 1st round pick in 2012.

 

TEAM NEEDS:

DT – During the season this group provided little or no pass rush (259.8 pass yds/g) nor run stopping (108.6 rush yds/g) allowing teams to chew up time and yardage on them. They had brought in Aubrayo Franklin and Shaun Rogers in to provide the stout middle they had hoped for when they signed them, but both will be let go in place for younger, cheaper and hopefully more productive players.

  • Possible Pick – Kendall Reyes,Connecticut – Reyes transformed himself from a 245, three sport high school star to a 300 pound tackle. His ability to stay agile despite his weight fluctuation, and has shown flashes of quickness and strength that would merit him a 3 or 5 technique tackle at the next level.

 

C – This position has been one of their weaker links along their offensive line, ever sine Jeff Faine left in 2008, but also losing their pro bowl guard Carl Nicks this off-season to the Buccaneers. They would have to look very hard at adding more beef up front to protect Drew Brees, who has yet to sign his Franchise tag, which he was upset about and they know that Brian De La Puente isn’t their long term answer.

  • Possible Pick – Michael Brewster,OhioState – Brewster has all the ability to be a long-time center piece along the offensive line with the combination of size, strength and athleticism. He provides a wall in pass protection and is agile to the point to create holes for his backs, which the Saints need.

 

CB – Being one of their strong points of their defence in 2010 (4th Ranked against the Pass) this unit took a major plummet to the basement (30th). With Tracy Porter leaving in free agency toDenver, Jabari Greer getting up in age, and Patrick Robinson, not polished enough to be a starter yet, the Saints might need to add more speed and play making ability in their defensive back field that only accounted for 7 INTs last season.

  • Possible Pick – Ryan Steed, Furman – A silky smooth athlete, eased NFL scouts with his impressive showing at the Senior Bowl, and also possesses the size to be a future NFL starter, even though he wasn’t tested by elite talent in D1-AA Furman, despite his 14 INTs in his career.

 

 For more teams: “The Quest for the Lombardi

 

 

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