What do we have? What do we need? (1 Viewer)

rockthedox

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Here's my thoughts on where we sit after our third 7-9 season. It's not as bad as you think...

OVERALL:
HAVE: QB, WR, RB, T, C, DT, CB, S, K, P, LS
NEED: DE, LB, G

Quarterback:
HAVE: Starter, Brees.
NEED: Next in line.
Hopefully this year is enough to get people to stop talking about Brees getting old and falling apart. I think we get another 2-3 years of top-5 level play out of him and another 2-3 more of very very good play. McCown is a very solid backup and I don't think he's going anywhere until we clearly get someone that will take the #2 position and become heir to the throne.

Wide Receiver:
HAVE: Everything
NEEDS: Depth
We have arguably the best WR trio in the league right now. The only reason that Snead dropped off a bit this year is because Thomas has been on fire. We had two 1100 yard rushers and Snead had 900. We will perennially have three 1000 yard rushers for the foreseeable future. Thomas and Brees already have amazing Chemistry and Cooks has been able to get open without being double and triple teamed. Coleman even came along and started playing to his size. We could maybe use another burner and could use some extra depth. At one point yesterday Cooks, Snead, and Thomas were all injured. That's scary but probably won't happen. I like TommyLee Lewis a lot. Like a wide receiver Sproles: small, fast, and fearless.

Running Back:
HAVE: Starter and Solid Backup
NEED: Satellite Back, Lighting to Ingram's Thunder
I was getting really pumped about Lasco but I think he'll take a few seasons if anything. Ingram is a true #1 and gets better the more he plays. He's a stud and really starting to play like it. At 27 he's just entering his prime! Hightower has proved to be a very good change of pace back. I'm good hanging onto him until Lasco is ready. Cadet is....Cadet. Brees obviously trusts him and has chemistry with him. He's solid, but unspectacular. He's a good placeholder until we find someone that is really explosive. Atlanta has a really solid tandem. Part of me wants to see that here and part of me wants to let Ingram go full Beast Mode and see what happens.

Tight End:
HAVE: ?
NEED: ?
We had some injuries this year with Hooman and Josh Hill going down and I think that shook things up. Overall a pretty solid unit, though I was really excited to see Fleener, Hooman, and Hill. Hill has proven solid and does best in the sneak attack role where people forget that he's even there and then he scores a touchdown. Fleener is coming along. He's had some games where he and Brees are starting to really click. With Ingram running hard and our killer WR trio we don't even need a star Tight End. Just someone that can exploit bad matchups and has solid hands. Not positive that Fleener is that guy, but I'll give him another season. He seems to play hard and he's serious. I think he knows what he has in Brees. Fleener actually has a similar YPC rate as Graham but only had 50 receptions this year to Graham's 80-90 in his prime. As weird as it seems, if Fleener had more opportunity I think he'll actually put up Graham-type numbers and he definitely came on stronger with Brees down the stretch.

Offensive Line:
HAVE: Center, Tackles
NEED: Guards
Who would've thought that our Offensive Line would be a major strength? Brees got some pressures and sacks this year but I didn't feel like he was running for his life. Strief apparently still had some left in the tank and Peat is actually really good when we don't ask him to play every position on the line, kick field goals, and make breakfast for the coaches. He really held up on the left side of the line. Armstead, Peat, Unger? That's scary. Jahri was really solid this year as well, but we obviously need to get some guards in soon to replace Jahri and when Peat moves back to tackle. Or do we grab another tackle and let Peat stay at guard? I think Peat can also be a great Tackle but I'm really liking him at guard so far.

Defensive Line:
HAVE: DT
NEED: DE
Fairley, Rankins, Davison, Onyemata have proven very good in the middle. Especially with Rankins not coming in until halfway through the season. If we keep Fairley I think we're good here for a while. Like Brees, it's sad to see Jordan be such a good player without some help. We NEED a DE to bookend with Jordan. I don't think it's Kikaha, though I'm excited to see what he can do. I think he's more of an OLB. That being said, we got some pressure and sacks this year. Much more so that I can remember in recent past.

Linebackers:
HAVE: A solid unit
NEED: Playmakers
I'm not sure what's going on with this unit, but they were also a pleasant surprise. We've struggled to nail down a MLB but Robinson did the job well. I had high hopes for both Anthony and Laurinitus and not sure what happened there. I thought Anthony was young but showed a LOT of promise last year. He didn't do well in the switch to SLB and I hope he switches back. Robertson and Stupar were both very good pickups and I hope they stick around. Add back a solid Anthony and Kikaha and we're looking pretty good. I also like Mauti a lot. Kid has heart. It is a fact that our defense plays better with Ellerbe but he's injured too much.

Safety:
HAVE: A solid, growing unit
NEED: Depth
This unit was much improved this year and I think will get better next year. Bell is still young and learning but has a lot of potential. Vacarro is still doing his thing. Byrd actually is starting to look like Byrd. He still takes some horrifically bad angles at times but if we can put Bell in the back and let him and Vacarro play near the line I think we may have something. Add in Erik Harris next year and this is a very solid unit. It was good to see Harper back in a reserve role but he got burned filling in for Vacarro. Overall we were pretty healthy too, but need to have some backups ready.

Cornerback:
HAVE: A solid, growing unit with potential stars
NEED: Depth
Again, who would have thought the CB would be a strength? Moore and Webb were phenomenal for being picked up off of the street. Breaux has battled injuries but should be fine next year. Add in Williams, Swann, and Wilson and we're set. What team could lose their TOP FIVE CORNERBACKS and still turn out fine? Crawley was a really pleasant surprise and I'm not sleeping on Harris, either. The only reason we need depth is because so many went down this year. If all of these guys are healthy we're going to have some hard cuts to make in the offseason. Good problem to have.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Punter:
HAVE: Morstead
NEED: Nothing
The leg. What more needs to be said? And with Lutz handling kickoff we're good. He's battled a few injuries in the last few years but I think he's good for a while.

Kicker:
HAVE: Lutz
NEED: none
Did we find our kicker? He had some bad ones early in the season but seems to be improving and having Payton put a vote of confidence in him early and often vs him worrying about losing his job after every missed kick seems to play a difference. Give him one more year, but if he's at least as good next year as he was this year I think we've found our kicker for the next decade.

Longsnapper:
Have: Drescher
Need: Backups
I don't remember hearing his name so apparently he was solid this year. I do remember watching another game this season where a team literally had a LB taking snaps at LS because they lost their LS and backup. It was horrific and we definitely need to have some guys crosstraining as LS, just in case. If I'm a fringe, ST guy I would definitely look at adding this to my skills list.

Kicking Coverage:
Have: Solid, but unspectacular unit
Need: ?
We seemed to have an average unit here. A few nice hits, but overall pretty average. Find me some young and hungry guys to go in there and try to make a name for themselves.

Kick/Punt Returns:
Have: Someone who can faircatch or get us 5 yards on a return
Need: Kick/Punt returner
I don't know what happened here. Murphy was awesome but couldn't hold on to the ball. Saunders look good for a while before him. Cadet/Byrd probably won't drop the ball but won't do much else. Can we find someone awesome? Please?

Coaching:
I won't really get into coaching but it felt stale this year. We had some highlights but overall it felt safe and unspectacular. I like what Allen is doing with the defense and hope he's a long term fit, especially as we start to build the team he wants. I love Payton and he's earned the right to be here as long as he wants but he just looks bored. I don't see that same fire.

Overall:
We have managed to almost completely go through a rebuild without going into the gutter. Yes, we had three 7-9 seasons in a row but look at where we are. We are genuinely a few pieces away from being contenders again. Give us a mauler guard or two, a passrushing DE, and a few other situational players and we're really in this.
 

HogsNSaints

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CB is still a major need. But I think your list is otherwise good. I'm hoping Bouye hits FA
 

TurboWhoDat

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i'd put OT in the need column. strief is getting old, peat doesn't seem like an NFL caliber player and armstead is basically a walking injury at this point. brees' ability to get rid of the ball quick masked a lot of our tackle issues. you can tell he's not comfortable when peat is playing LT. basically strief is the most reliable guy out of the tackle group and his production could fall off a cliff at any moment w/ his age.
 

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