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Scouts Inc. Gives Five Needs This Offseason for the Saints

Cornerback — The Saints’ backend was torched last season, giving up many explosive downfield plays. Starting CB Mike McKenzie was easily the Saints’ best cover corner. CB Jason David struggled to make the transition after playing in the Colts’ Cover 2 system. On top of that, McKenzie tore his ACL in his right knee in Week 16 against the Eagles. Jason Craft is a solid backup corner, while Fred Thomas is an unrestricted free agent and is not expected back. However, Usama Young is an intriguing young player who will play a stronger role in 2008. Regardless, the Saints still need a shutdown No. 1 corner.

Linebacker — The Saints’ linebackers are solid. They are led by SLB Scott Fujita but they are not explosive playmakers, especially at MLB. Even though he ranked second on the team in tackles, Mark Simoneau is best suited as a backup player with added value on special team’s coverage units. He is a smart, instinctive player who must be protected well within the box. Backup MLB Brian Simmons is a versatile player, but could not beat out Simoneau for the starting job throughout the season. Rookie seventh-round pick Marvin Mitchell lacks experience and contributed mainly on special teams.

Tight end — Head coach Sean Payton places a lot of emphasis on the Saints’ two tight-end packages. Starting TE Eric Johnson and backup TE Billy Miller are both unrestricted free agents. Johnson was a steady player who had more value in the passing game than running game, and Miller has better value as a blocker than receiver. With that said, backup TE Mark Campbell spent the season on injured reserve and is best suited as a run-blocker. The Saints could be even more dangerous on offense with a complete tight end.

Defensive tackle — If the Saints are going to improve their run defense, they must get stronger in the interior and improve their pass rush. Starting LDT Brian Young is a solid two-down starter in the right system for some NFL teams in a 4-3 scheme. However, he is an unrestricted free agent who battled through injuries throughout the season. NT Hollis Thomas is an effective run stuffer, but has stamina concerns as an every-down player. Backups Antwan Lake and Kendrick Clancy are solid role players who lack good pass-rush production.

Center — All five starters returned to the offensive line in 2007. However, C Jeff Faine and LG Jamar Nesbit are unrestricted free agents and could test the open market. Faine has been a solid starter over the past two seasons and has done a solid job stabilizing the interior of the Saints’ offensive line. Nesbit is a versatile player who is best suited as a backup. Reserve Jonathan Goodwin is a versatile player who can play either C or OG. He is an unrestricted free agent who could deplete the depth at both positions, if he leaves in free agency.

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One Response to “Scouts Inc. Gives Five Needs This Offseason for the Saints”

  1. Roeski says:

    With that being said the Saints should #1 Draft :Aquib Talib #2 Sign Lance Briggs Defense is defense #3 Sign Alge Crumpler or try & trade for Jeremy Shockey #4 Adress offensive & defensive line in the draft.. It’s on the platter !!

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