The NFL Draft countdown is officially underway as we are now one month away from April 25th. We've already discussed the options that could and should be available with the 15th pick, and as we zero in on the draft date we will obviously continue to do so. As free agency is starting to slow down and the draft is nearing, the focus of these posts will be starting to shift towards prospect new players. Since the Saints had their 2nd round pick unjustly yanked from them, I thought I'd present five players that I believe should be available around the 75th pick when the Saints are back on the clock in the 3rd round. Here are five guys I wouldn't mind seeing on the roster:no comments
It was reported after the contract restructures by Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith just prior to the offseason starting that the Saints were somewhere around $8.5 million under the salary cap. Enough room to add some talent but likely not make a massive splash in free agency. Since then, the Saints have signed Justin Drescher, Keenan Lewis, Ramon Humber, Ben Watson, Will Herring and Courtney Roby. Many of these contracts are undisclosed, but it's safe to assume each of the four returning Saints players had salaries around or less than $1 million. I'm going to say they count $3 million against the cap collectively. Ben Watson signed a 3 years $3.15 million deal with 950k going against cap in year one, while Keenan Lewis will count $2.25 against the cap in year one. That means the Saints have spent roughly $6.2 million against the cap up to this point for 2013 and by my math that means that have about $2.3 million worth of cap space left for 2013. That should be enough to, at the very least, offer both Nnamdi Asomugha and Victor Butler low ball contracts, which we can already safely assume they've done. Since both players left without signatures, they are obviously weighing their options and not thrilled by the money the Saints were able to propose.no comments
This week I will be breaking down the Saints needs (in my opinion) and where they stand as far as the draft goes. The Saints have lost a few people to free agency, but those people are not irreplaceable. The worst one was definitely the Kromer/Bushrod to the Bears combination. A solid left tackle going to another team, along with a good offensive line coach. I think the Saints offensive line will still be among the best, but not quite the best like they have been in recent years.
As of now, the Saints have five total picks in the draft: The 15th overall pick, 75th overall pick (third round), 109th pick overall (fourth round), 144th pick overall (fifth round), and pick 183 (sixth round). While I would like to have that second rounder back, I can understand why they won't get it back. This draft is definitely a defensive draft with the multitudes of great talent to choose from so late in the draft.
First Round, Pick 15: The New Orleans Saints select...no comments
This is the third offseason in a row I am clamoring for a difference maker on defense. In 2011, I wrote this. Unsatisfied with how that year went, I essentially wrote the exact same piece in 2012. Here we are again, for the third straight year, and I'm singing a familiar refrain we're all starting to know a little too well. The Saints haven't had a 2009 version of Darren Sharper since, well, Darren Sharper in 2009. And once again we're waiting for that to happen. Don't get me wrong, I like the Keenan Lewis signing. The guy is a good player and I think he represents an upgrade. But I view him as a solid player, not a playmaker. I view him as a guy that will be rock solid in coverage, hopefully, but I don't think he's the ballhawk "difference maker" that turns in a 6+ interception season. Could that guy be Nnamdi Asomugha, Victor Butler or the 15th overall pick? I have no idea. Could a guy like Martez Wilson or Junior Galette finally explode onto the scene this year? Maybe, but I kind of doubt it. I do know this defense isn't going to get much better without a player that's so good he makes everyone around him better. One thing is for sure, the guys currently on the team aren't manifesting themselves as that guy. At least not on a consistent level.no comments
The Saints' defense was miserable beyond words last year, this is not news to anyone. Some say it was the worst ever, and from a yardage yielding perspective that much cannot be argued. It was certainly the worst in Saints' history and that is really and unbelievable feat when you think about it. So far the only addition the Saints have made is cornerback Keenan Lewis. I think we'd all be foolish to assume that pick up will be enough to vault the Saints out of the 32nd spot overall - though a new coach and scheme change might be. The move to fire Steve Spagnuolo and change the scheme has suggested all along that it's not on the players or talent as much as the coaching and not putting those players in a position to succeed. That I'm not sure I agree with. Why? Because I feel the Saints' best talent on defense is over the hill with the possible exception of Curtis Lofton and a currently incomplete end in Cam Jordan.
So far the Saints have lost way more defenders than they've added.no comments
With the signings of Keenan Lewis and Ben Watson, I'm not ready to say cornerback and tight end depth are set by any means, but I feel better about those positions. That said, the Saints are still looking strongly at Nnamdi Asomugha which proves they are maybe still not satisfied with the talent at the former position. That said, with Jabari Greer, Patrick Robinson and Keenan Lewis, three guys that are at least capable of starting, cornerback is not as pressing of a "need" for the team. Here's where I believe the Saints' current roster shakes out and what holes are left to fill.no comments
I don't have much for you today so I suggest you head over to NOLA.com and check out Larry Holder's piece on the interview with Sean Payton yesterday. Nice to hear a little bit from coach! Full steam ahead.no comments
Tight end has gone from a position completely void of any depth to rock solid in the blink of an eye. The Saints just signed a very good and reliable veteran in Ben Watson to a three year deal. Watson is a very versatile player that's reasonably solid both at receiving and blocking, though he's more a pass catcher, and he'll prove to be very good not only as a backup but in two tight end sets as well. The first round pick out of Georgia started the last three years for the Browns and was a starter for the Patriots before that. He's 32 and he caught 49 balls for 501 yards and 3 touchdowns last season. This is a nice pickup.no comments