With the Saints’ exploits in January, the silver bullet to take them to the next level is something else, while for the Falcons and Panthers it’s targeting a spot in the playoffs, for the Bucs it is about being competitive late in the season and potentially being a threat in the wildcard race. For the Saints though it is something different, there’s only one extra step that they can take, one that they all but took last season but for Nickell Robey-Coleman assaulting Tommylee Lewis in the NFC Championship Game.
Obviously the Saints are in win-now mode but they have already spent a lot of their draft capital, leaving them without a first round pick and only one pick in the top 150, having traded up for Marcus Davenport in last year’s draft, who disappointed with just 22 tackles and 4.5 sacks as a rookie. The Saints are generally strong on defence, with a very good defensive line and secondary with solid starters across the board, including Sheldon Rankins, Cameron Jordan, Marcus Williams, Marshon Lattimore and Vonn Bell, and secondary though linebacker needs to be addressed to make it a truly elite defence.
The offence has superstar names but does lack depth, especially at receiver and on the line. Aside from Michael Thomas, the Saints lack reliable pass catching options, they need Cameron Meredith to step up as a number two option allowing Ted Ginn Jr to be their deep threat and special teams option.
The loss of Mark Ingram will hurt and Alvin Kamara will need to step up as a three down back, they won’t to be over reliant on Latavius Murray to carry the running game. The loss of Max Unger leaves a big hole on the offensive line that Nick Easton will struggle to fill and with Andrus Peat hitting free agency after next season, the Saints will need to target IOL. And then there’s the fact that Drew Brees is 40, do the Saints see Teddy Bridgewater as Brees’ replacement?
For the Saints they will have several areas to look at when their time comes midway through next Friday. The likelihood is that they will target a lineman, though linebacker or receiver will be tough to ignore, and they have the luxury of taking best player available from those positions.
For them Greg Little is a good option, a tackle from Mississippi that they can move inside to strengthen the interior. Little was a highly recruited high school athlete, he is quick and long, and has the quickness needed at the next level but he will need to work on his anchor technique. Coming out as a junior, Little plays like Duane Brown and will be an early starter, but ultimately he may struggle to be another blue-chip addition along the Saints’ O-line. Mack Wilson is an option if they look to bolster the linebacker corps, while Deebo Samuel, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside or Mecole Hardman should be available if they want to draft a receiver at 62.
Picture from https://eu.clarionledger.com