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The Focus of Saints for the 2011 Draft

Winning the Super Bowl last season was the biggest thing to ever happen for the New Orleans Saints in their long and storied history. The fact that Drew Brees outplayed and outgunned Peyton the proverbial MVP Manning was just extra icing on the sinfully sweet cake.

Many Saints fans thought the team had arrived – a new franchise, like the Dallas Cowboys of the 1990s and the New England Patriots of the 2000s. Fans would unfortunately find, however, that the Super Bowl slump is no mere myth. Unless you’re at the very top of your game, filling every single on-field position to the max, you can’t win.

11-5 is no slouch of a season. And let’s face it: earning a Wild Card berth, while not guaranteeing home playoff games, still puts you in the arena with a chance to play your way to the show. But facing off against the first team in league history to enter the NFL Playoffs with a losing record, the Seattle Seahawks, the Saints’ lack of defensive prowess made itself evident early and often, and was showcased when Marshawn Lynch broke out for a 67 yarder and made New Orleans’ D look like the Pee Wee leagues.

The odds of repeating as Super Bowl Champions are slim for any team. We’re talking at least 40:1. You’d have better odds hitting back-to-back-to-back 21s when you play blackjack online. But repetitive nature aside, many Saints fans, and I’m sure the Saints themselves, would love to compete harder than what they did come time to play.

The Saints have an opportunity to fill some gaps in their defense with this year’s draft. Sure, free agency is always an option, but as the Redskins, Cowboys and Chargers have been proving time and again, big names don’t equal big records.

If healthy and melding, the Saints’ offense is one of the most prolific in the league. Forget about what you hear, Brees is undoubtedly one of the top 5 QBs in the league for the past decade. Shockey at TE is a beast. Reggie Bush is still explosive. Meachem, Moore, Colston and Hendersen create a thorough tandem. And their O line is capable of giving Brees some of that coveted Brady time.

If the draft was held today, the Saints would have the 24th pick in the first round. New Orleans still needs a big-playing defensive end. Their pass rush is meager; their run defense is mediocre. They can’t play in the box well at all, and they can’t pressure anyone consistently. If they’re lucky enough to grab Robert Quinn out of North Carolina, Ryan Kerrigan out of Purdue or Adrian Clayborn out of Iowa, they should jump at the chance to give Will Smith some further help.

Defensive tackles wouldn’t hurt either. Say what you will about the Saints’ secondary, but those guys can’t cover every inch of daylight if there’s no pressure on the ball. Oregon State’s Stephen Paea or Illinois’ Corey Liuget would be great additions for the team – even Drake Nevis out of LSU would help.

We’ll go online casino USA style here and play pick-‘em with the Saints. Our prediction is that the Saints will go after Quinn, perhaps even trading up to get him. Why not try for Nick Fairley from Auburn or Marcell Dareus out of Alabama at the DT position? There’s too much capital involved.

2011’s draft board is full up with defensive talent. Quinn is the type of player the Saints could use immediately and often, possibly giving them the necessary edge to make another push. So we’ll say the Saints are 4:1 to go after that need first and foremost, but don’t sleep on a CB like Brandon Harris or an OLB like Von Miller if they’re on the board.

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4 Responses to “The Focus of Saints for the 2011 Draft”

  1. realheavyd says:

    What about the presence and rising potential of Junior Galette at DE? “The guy I’m really anxious to give him his chance next year is Junior. He’s earned the right to get a chance now,” Gregg Williams said, explaining that Galette has added power to his 6-2 frame and bulked up to 266 pounds from 258.

  2. realheavyd says:

    It takes time for defensive linemen to develop in this league you know. How do you honestly expect this Robert Quinn kid to be able to contribute right away for the Saints when it took a whole season of struggling as a rookie for the highly touted Sedrick Ellis to really even make a difference in the Saints’ defense?

    The bottom line here is that the Saints will draft the most talented and versatile athletes as their picks come up, regardless of positions. It just so happens that this year’s draft is slap full of guys with potential at DE and DT, so chances are that we will get one or two or three at those positions, but the chances are just as great that there will be a S, CB, RB, TE, WR or even OL who grades out higher when our pick comes up too.

    I can’t wait to see what we get, but RB is probably one of the only positions where a draft pick might give a real return right away in their rookie campaign.

  3. realheavyd says:

    Who wrote this piece anyway? It does not say anywhere, does it?

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