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Old 01-13-2014, 10:50 AM   #1
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FA and the Draft: How Do We Best Improve?

First off I'd like to thank the team for a good year of football. I don't want to rehash how we didn't get to our goal; only one team ends the season happy anyway.

So looking towards improvement: Through the draft and FA, I'm trying to identify what positions need to be addressed for both immediate and long term improvement.

In the draft I like going with the BPA (best player available) in round #1. It'd would be nice if that player came at a position of great need, but the BPA (non-kicker or QB-- yet) seems to me like a sound philosophy. If that player was an offensive lineman, I think he'd be great, in that, that's my opinion of where we need the most help; preferably center or tackle.

For the rest of the draft, I don't really want to target any one position as much as I'd like to see us pick players that can run fast and tackle and/or catch the ball really well. A receiver and really good LBer would hopefully be in there. That's a great way to add depth and hopefully have a couple of good impact rookies... Stills, Foster, Jenkins come to mind. It also helps immediately on the special teams.

As for FA, it gets a bit less certain as to where I think we can add a few immediate impact players.With the injuries we've taken in the defensive backfield this has changed from just a few weeks ago when I thought that a OT and center where we needed the most help. Now I think that we need to sign a top notch CB as much or if not more than any other position. I still hope to get an upgrade at canter and tackle via FA though.


I purposely left out unsigned rookie FA's. But they kind of fall into that
"players that can run fast and tackle and/or catch the ball really well" category and the team has done an outstanding job with that so I feel no need to wonder how to move forward on that subject.

So if you would please, tell how you think the team should choose who to sign in FA and where to best add players through the draft to help make an immediate impact and to build for a strong roster in the years ahead?
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Old 01-13-2014, 11:26 AM   #2
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RT, explosive WR and CB are the top three positions I want to see addressed.
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Old 01-13-2014, 11:34 AM   #3
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The only thing the defense is really missing is speed at the LB position and another shutdown corner. The only thing the offense is missing is a big-time playmaker at the WR position. Colston, Moore, and Toon are possesion WRs. Morgan, Stills, and Meachem are deep threats. We don't have a WR who has the rare combination of size, speed, and strength who is a threat to score at any time. We have already found our LT of the future in Armstead. We need to mimic the Seahawks, Panthers, and Niners on defense and get younger and faster on offense.

I felt that if we could have forced more turnovers on defense this year we could have won the superbowl. So we definitely need to find a bunch of ballhawks and playmakers on that side of the ball. Also, a dynamic return man to give us good starting field position.
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Old 01-13-2014, 12:22 PM   #4
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I'm going to make a thread with my own 2013-2014 offseason wish list, but in short I'd love to see this happen:

Free Agency
OC Evan Dietrich-Smith, he's smaller than DLP but graded out as a better run blocker and significantly better pass protector. He also played on a worse line than DLP. I'd consider him a definite upgrade while costing less than bigger-name free agents like Alex Mack. The question is if Green Bay will let him leave; they have a number of free agents of their own, but Dietrich-Smith is most certainly on their radar.
CB Vontae Davis, he could be our Keenan Lewis of this season. He's a large, physical corner at 5'11" and 203 pounds and had 11 pass deflections on the year but only one interception (sound familiar?). Of course the problem here is that Indianapolis has a ridiculously high amount of cap space at more than $36 million, and Jim Irsay has never been shy about throwing money around. So it's unlikely that Davis hits the market, but if he does we would be wise to go after him.
WR Dexter McCluster, he wasn't a good fit for Andy Reid's offense in Kansas City this year. While being sure-handed dropping only 4 passes all season (and none after Week 9 despite having 41 passes thrown his way after the last drop), he wasn't put in a very good position and gathered only 500+ yards despite catching 60 passes. I don't know about you guys but I think Payton could find better ways to use him than Reid did, and at 25 years old without much injury history he's still in the prime of his career. He'd be well worth putting out a flyer on. The Chiefs aren't looking at a favorable cap situation next year and given McCluster's lack of production, he probably won't be back in Kansas City.
Draft
As you can see in my signature, there are several prospects I'm really hoping we can land (even if that's unlikely to happen).
LB Kyle Van Noy, this guy has been a terror for BYU's defense for years and would be the Kenny Vaccaro of our LB corps with his versatility and tenacity. He isn't the most athletic prospect but he does have a natural eye for the ball. There are some concerns about his attitude in the locker room, but he wouldn't be the big fish in New Orleans and I trust our veterans to make him more of a team player. He's very likely to be there at the end of the first round.
WR Jordan Matthews, he's probably my favorite prospect in the draft. He's a distant relative of Jerry Rice and it shows. Matthews was the only real offensive weapon on Vanderbilt's roster and was constantly double and even triple covered, but still set all kinds of school and conference records. He isn't the most athletic guy and won't have an outstanding combine, but his skills and work ethic more than make up for that. An example of that is his request for tape on Senior Bowl defensive backs he'll be matching up with so he can prepare for them beforehand. At 6'3" and 205 pounds he compares well with Keenan Allen and would be a great addition to our WR corps. Given the depth at WR in this draft class he will almost certainly be there in the first round, and could possibly be there in the second.
OT Billy Turner, expect to hear a lot from Turner after the Senior Bowl. He is crazy athletic, almost as much as Armstead, and comes from a small school where he has completely dominated his competition. He anchored North Dakota State's offensive line and led the way to three FCS national championships. He's a very high character locker room guy but plays with a mean streak on the field, excelling in pass protection but showing great potential as a run blocker. He carries his 305 pounds on a 6'5" frame very well and looks like he could get bigger if needed. I'd love to see him study under Strief at RT for a year before taking over next season. He played LT at NDS but should be able to adapt to RT in the pros easily.
CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, he's a big athletic receiver-turned corner out of Nebraska who is still learning the position but has demonstrated excellent ball skills. He'd need to ride the bench for a while but I think he's perfect for what Ryan and Coach Crime Dog want out of their defensive backs.
OC Tylor Larsen, he's a fourth-year starter at Utah State and has seen great success in run blocking and pass protecting. If we can't get a new center in free agency he could start right away and should be there later in the draft after bigger names like Swanson and Stork are off the board.
PK Cairo Santos, we obviously need a young kicker with ice water in his veins moving forward, and who better than one who has been kicking in the Super Bowl for years now? Santos will definitely be there in the late rounds and we'd be foolish not to pull the trigger on him. I'd even advocate taking him in the fifth round if no really exciting prospects are there. Given his experience at Tulane he should be comfortable with what's expected of the Saints organization and should make the jump to the next level.
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Old 01-13-2014, 12:28 PM   #5
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the way the o-line started to come together im thinking we can skip this for now unless we get a steal.

i'd say any of BPA from WR, CB, FS (vaccoro is likely going to play SS), or LB (middle or outside).

ultimately as long as we dont go RB or QB earlier we cant go wrong as long as we hit.
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Old 01-13-2014, 12:35 PM   #6
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBK View Post
I'm going to make a thread with my own 2013-2014 offseason wish list, but in short I'd love to see this happen:

Free Agency
OC Evan Dietrich-Smith, he's smaller than DLP but graded out as a better run blocker and significantly better pass protector. He also played on a worse line than DLP. I'd consider him a definite upgrade while costing less than bigger-name free agents like Alex Mack. The question is if Green Bay will let him leave; they have a number of free agents of their own, but Dietrich-Smith is most certainly on their radar.
CB Vontae Davis, he could be our Keenan Lewis of this season. He's a large, physical corner at 5'11" and 203 pounds and had 11 pass deflections on the year but only one interception (sound familiar?). Of course the problem here is that Indianapolis has a ridiculously high amount of cap space at more than $36 million, and Jim Irsay has never been shy about throwing money around. So it's unlikely that Davis hits the market, but if he does we would be wise to go after him.
WR Dexter McCluster, he wasn't a good fit for Andy Reid's offense in Kansas City this year. While being sure-handed dropping only 4 passes all season (and none after Week 9 despite having 41 passes thrown his way after the last drop), he wasn't put in a very good position and gathered only 500+ yards despite catching 60 passes. I don't know about you guys but I think Payton could find better ways to use him than Reid did, and at 25 years old without much injury history he's still in the prime of his career. He'd be well worth putting out a flyer on. The Chiefs aren't looking at a favorable cap situation next year and given McCluster's lack of production, he probably won't be back in Kansas City.
Draft
As you can see in my signature, there are several prospects I'm really hoping we can land (even if that's unlikely to happen).
LB Kyle Van Noy, this guy has been a terror for BYU's defense for years and would be the Kenny Vaccaro of our LB corps with his versatility and tenacity. He isn't the most athletic prospect but he does have a natural eye for the ball. There are some concerns about his attitude in the locker room, but he wouldn't be the big fish in New Orleans and I trust our veterans to make him more of a team player. He's very likely to be there at the end of the first round.
WR Jordan Matthews, he's probably my favorite prospect in the draft. He's a distant relative of Jerry Rice and it shows. Matthews was the only real offensive weapon on Vanderbilt's roster and was constantly double and even triple covered, but still set all kinds of school and conference records. He isn't the most athletic guy and won't have an outstanding combine, but his skills and work ethic more than make up for that. An example of that is his request for tape on Senior Bowl defensive backs he'll be matching up with so he can prepare for them beforehand. At 6'3" and 205 pounds he compares well with Keenan Allen and would be a great addition to our WR corps. Given the depth at WR in this draft class he will almost certainly be there in the first round, and could possibly be there in the second.
OT Billy Turner, expect to hear a lot from Turner after the Senior Bowl. He is crazy athletic, almost as much as Armstead, and comes from a small school where he has completely dominated his competition. He anchored North Dakota State's offensive line and led the way to three FCS national championships. He's a very high character locker room guy but plays with a mean streak on the field, excelling in pass protection but showing great potential as a run blocker. He carries his 305 pounds on a 6'5" frame very well and looks like he could get bigger if needed. I'd love to see him study under Strief at RT for a year before taking over next season. He played LT at NDS but should be able to adapt to RT in the pros easily.
CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, he's a big athletic receiver-turned corner out of Nebraska who is still learning the position but has demonstrated excellent ball skills. He'd need to ride the bench for a while but I think he's perfect for what Ryan and Coach Crime Dog want out of their defensive backs.
OC Tylor Larsen, he's a fourth-year starter at Utah State and has seen great success in run blocking and pass protecting. If we can't get a new center in free agency he could start right away and should be there later in the draft after bigger names like Swanson and Stork are off the board.
PK Cairo Santos, we obviously need a young kicker with ice water in his veins moving forward, and who better than one who has been kicking in the Super Bowl for years now? Santos will definitely be there in the late rounds and we'd be foolish not to pull the trigger on him. I'd even advocate taking him in the fifth round if no really exciting prospects are there. Given his experience at Tulane he should be comfortable with what's expected of the Saints organization and should make the jump to the next level.
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Old 01-13-2014, 01:03 PM   #7
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I want Verner CB from the titans.
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Old 01-13-2014, 01:06 PM   #8
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If somehow he falls to us at #27 Justin Gilbert at corner if not then we go WR Jarvis Landry or Jordan Mattews
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Old 01-13-2014, 01:19 PM   #9
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Could we get Reggie for Cheap?
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Old 01-13-2014, 01:24 PM   #10
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If I look at the current state of the Saints, i only see 1 glaring weakness and that is WR. I think that needs to be addressed but other than that it should be BPA in the draft and free agency.

Offensive line could use some help but I think another Superbowl is attainable with the 5 guys we have. People are overreacting about Strief, he was our best linemen throughout the season, just had a bad couple plays against Seattle. DLP could be replaced because he gets pushed around too much and seems lost sometimes but he still is a top 15 center in the NFL imo.

We will obviously bolster depth at CB and both safety positions, no big need for starters there though. Same thing could be said at OLB and ILB, I'd like to see some guys compete with Hawthorne and Lofton for the ILB jobs because I fear our backups right now besides Humber are not too talented.

Above all, this team is extremely young and there is a lot to be excited about in the future on both sides of the ball!
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Old 01-13-2014, 02:05 PM   #11
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Size/speed at CB
Left Tackle
Big Threat at WR
Speed at OLB
Depth at other OL
Backup young QB project
Depth at DE (depending on Butler and Haralson's recovery)

Explanation:

#1 priority must be another top-flight corner. Lewis was great this year, but even when/if Greer comes back, he is getting old and has always been undersized. With today's big receivers, CBs must be big and fast. Tight coverage on the outside will allow more flexibility with the front 7 and allow our very strong safeties to make plays at the LOS.

At LT, Armstead may be the answer of the future - but I wouldnot be adverse to upgrading significantly there. With Brees at the helm (and getting older) LT is a key postion on our team.

We need a real stretch-the-field, demand-a-defense's-best-cover-guy WR. This will give Drew another target and open up opportunities for Graham. New England showed that - if you put your best cover guy on Graham (Aqib Talib in their case), you can hurt our offense because he is out biggest threat. We need a bigger threat on the outside to demand respect from the defense's best cover guy and safeties in help. Then Graham will return to All-Pro form.

As for the rest, speed kills. We need to get faster and deeper at LB, OL, and everywhere. And I would never be adverse to a 2nd or 3rd round flyer on a future Brees backup - a project - perhaps a Derek Carr or A.J McCarron or Aaron Murray - heady players who will learn from Drew. Or even a real late take-a-shot pick like Jordan Lynch or Connor Shaw...
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Old 01-13-2014, 02:13 PM   #12
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Address the WR position...strengthen the offensive line and resolidify the CB spot. The pieces are already in place...we just have to get healthy on defense...but we need more talent at the WR spot and we need to improve the offensive line or the depth behind it if DLP and Strief aren't brought back.
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Old 01-13-2014, 03:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meily View Post
Address the WR position...strengthen the offensive line and resolidify the CB spot. The pieces are already in place...we just have to get healthy on defense...but we need more talent at the WR spot and we need to improve the offensive line or the depth behind it if DLP and Strief aren't brought back.
This really sums it up nicely. WR is the only position where we have a genuine hole. Even at CB, After Lewis, Robinson deserves to get a chance in this new defense, Greer could be put on the PUP until he is healthy, White should continue to improve, and Wade seemed to impress the coaches at the very end. It's not as dire as it seems.

Of course we "could" improve every single position group. But, IMHO, our money would seem most wisely spent keeping our players, developing continuity, and getting a #1 WR, either via draft, FA, or trade.
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Old 01-13-2014, 06:08 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBK View Post
I'm going to make a thread with my own 2013-2014 offseason wish list, but in short I'd love to see this happen:

Free Agency
OC Evan Dietrich-Smith, he's smaller than DLP but graded out as a better run blocker and significantly better pass protector. He also played on a worse line than DLP. I'd consider him a definite upgrade while costing less than bigger-name free agents like Alex Mack. The question is if Green Bay will let him leave; they have a number of free agents of their own, but Dietrich-Smith is most certainly on their radar.
CB Vontae Davis, he could be our Keenan Lewis of this season. He's a large, physical corner at 5'11" and 203 pounds and had 11 pass deflections on the year but only one interception (sound familiar?). Of course the problem here is that Indianapolis has a ridiculously high amount of cap space at more than $36 million, and Jim Irsay has never been shy about throwing money around. So it's unlikely that Davis hits the market, but if he does we would be wise to go after him.
WR Dexter McCluster, he wasn't a good fit for Andy Reid's offense in Kansas City this year. While being sure-handed dropping only 4 passes all season (and none after Week 9 despite having 41 passes thrown his way after the last drop), he wasn't put in a very good position and gathered only 500+ yards despite catching 60 passes. I don't know about you guys but I think Payton could find better ways to use him than Reid did, and at 25 years old without much injury history he's still in the prime of his career. He'd be well worth putting out a flyer on. The Chiefs aren't looking at a favorable cap situation next year and given McCluster's lack of production, he probably won't be back in Kansas City.
Draft
As you can see in my signature, there are several prospects I'm really hoping we can land (even if that's unlikely to happen).
LB Kyle Van Noy, this guy has been a terror for BYU's defense for years and would be the Kenny Vaccaro of our LB corps with his versatility and tenacity. He isn't the most athletic prospect but he does have a natural eye for the ball. There are some concerns about his attitude in the locker room, but he wouldn't be the big fish in New Orleans and I trust our veterans to make him more of a team player. He's very likely to be there at the end of the first round.
WR Jordan Matthews, he's probably my favorite prospect in the draft. He's a distant relative of Jerry Rice and it shows. Matthews was the only real offensive weapon on Vanderbilt's roster and was constantly double and even triple covered, but still set all kinds of school and conference records. He isn't the most athletic guy and won't have an outstanding combine, but his skills and work ethic more than make up for that. An example of that is his request for tape on Senior Bowl defensive backs he'll be matching up with so he can prepare for them beforehand. At 6'3" and 205 pounds he compares well with Keenan Allen and would be a great addition to our WR corps. Given the depth at WR in this draft class he will almost certainly be there in the first round, and could possibly be there in the second.
OT Billy Turner, expect to hear a lot from Turner after the Senior Bowl. He is crazy athletic, almost as much as Armstead, and comes from a small school where he has completely dominated his competition. He anchored North Dakota State's offensive line and led the way to three FCS national championships. He's a very high character locker room guy but plays with a mean streak on the field, excelling in pass protection but showing great potential as a run blocker. He carries his 305 pounds on a 6'5" frame very well and looks like he could get bigger if needed. I'd love to see him study under Strief at RT for a year before taking over next season. He played LT at NDS but should be able to adapt to RT in the pros easily.
CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, he's a big athletic receiver-turned corner out of Nebraska who is still learning the position but has demonstrated excellent ball skills. He'd need to ride the bench for a while but I think he's perfect for what Ryan and Coach Crime Dog want out of their defensive backs.
OC Tylor Larsen, he's a fourth-year starter at Utah State and has seen great success in run blocking and pass protecting. If we can't get a new center in free agency he could start right away and should be there later in the draft after bigger names like Swanson and Stork are off the board.
PK Cairo Santos, we obviously need a young kicker with ice water in his veins moving forward, and who better than one who has been kicking in the Super Bowl for years now? Santos will definitely be there in the late rounds and we'd be foolish not to pull the trigger on him. I'd even advocate taking him in the fifth round if no really exciting prospects are there. Given his experience at Tulane he should be comfortable with what's expected of the Saints organization and should make the jump to the next level.
I like your picks, but I would hope for this:

1st Rd Van Noy: I believe this guy could have a Patrick Willis-type of effect on our LB corps. Granted BYU isn't playing Alabama or Ohio State every year, but this guy is incredible! I don't think there's anybody in the draft that has the instincts to match his play. Non-stop motor, can play inside or out, can COVER TE's, RB's, even some WR's. Has the frame to add 10 more pounds of muscle and not lose speed or agility.

2nd Rd: Matthews, Brandon Coleman or ILB: if Matthews or Coleman aren't available, I'd consider Shane Skov (6-3, 245lb STANFORD), Yawin Smallwood (6-3, 245lb UCONN) or Max Bullough (6-3, 245lb MICH ST). Any of these guys would be solid in the middle. Also, you can never have too many LB's with a 3-4 base. Coleman (WR 6-6 220lb RUTGERS) could give us a bigger option at wideout.

3rd Rd FS I'd strongly consider Calvin Pryor (6-2 208lb LOUISVILLE) or Deone Bucannon (6-1 215lb WASH ST). Vaccaro will be back, Raphael Bush will make either Harper or Jenkins expendable, and dept plus youth can never be overlooked. Either one would dramatically change our secondary for the better.

4th Rd Tyler Larsen or trade back. I expect (if we do) trade down, it might be here. This could be where we pick up some OLine depth and a Center. Larsen should be available in the 4th or we could trade back, pick up another 5th & 7th Rounder.

5th Rd Billy Turner, and/or Center If we trade back, we should be able to grab Turner, possibly Larsen (a stretch, I'll admit) or either Gabe Ikard (6'3, 298lb Oklahoma), Weston Richburg (6'4, 300lb Colorado State), Bryan Stork (6'3, 312lb Florida State), or Russell Bodine (6'4, 310lb North Carolina).

*5th Rd (trade or compensatory) Daniel McCullers | 6'8 350-375lb-ish DT Tennessee You want to lock down and clog running lanes, look here. No explanation needed.

6th Rd WR or CB If we lose out on Matthews or elect to go larger on WR, I would look at either Cody Hoffman (6'4, 215lb BYU) or L'Damian Washington (6'4, 205lb Missouri). Both are tall and should be able to handle DB's pretty well. As for CB, Stanley Jean-Baptiste (6'3, 220lb Nebraska) or Keith McGill (6'3, 210lb Utah) could be here.

6th Rd (trade or compensatory) I'm ASSUMING we get something for Bushrod. My pick: see previous 6th Rd listing, and grab any available.

7th Rd (with Trade Compensation)Cairo Santos Sorry y'all, with the exception of Legatron, I just can't pick a punter or a kicker before the 7th round. I'm sure he's good (I don't get any Tulane games out West), but after Taylor Melhalf (sp), I just can't do it.
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