Analysis Who will be GUARD'ing the fort on the right side of the Saints O-Line this coming season? Let's take a look! (1 Viewer)

Andrus

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Forrest Lamp (76) / AP Photo

By Andrus Whitewing, with analysis from Dan Levy | Saintsreport.com Staff

Cesar Ruiz
is saying a lot of the right things this off-season in his quest to validate being taken as the Saints first round pick (24th overall) in the 2020 draft. Judging from his elite 9.07 RAS score, there is little doubt that the 6-3, 307lb. Ruiz has the physical talent to become a quality starter within the Saints interior offensive line. However, while he has shown flashes, Ruiz has yet to show any consistency and has at times looked downright lost.

Some contend that he is playing out of position at RG and is better suited to play center, while others speculate that Ruiz' "getting paid" first round money in 2020 left him a bit distracted--more interested in purchasing and trading-in expensive vehicles than studying the playbook. I don't know whether either is true, but whatever the issues were, he at least appears to be focused on football and improving his game now. As he should be, since there is some intriguing competition breathing down his neck.

Fans were certainly concerned enough about the Guard position to remain hopeful that the Saints would address it in the offseason--not just due to questions concerning Ruiz, but with regard to Andrus Peat as well, mainly due to Peat's propensity for being sidelined with injuries. While many complain about Peat's exorbitant contract, my personal observation is that Andrus Peat is a versatile, pro-bowl caliber offensive lineman 98% of the time, and, other than his injury issues, the main concerns with Peat are his occasional mental lapses that always seem to come at the wrong time, making them more obvious. I would also like to see him remain more on balance, so as to not spend so much time laying on the turf.

So what did the Saints do to address the interior line this off-season?

Most will say... Not much! But is that true? Well, it is, if you are only speaking to the draft, and somewhat true even in free agency. The Saints did not draft a guard, however they did pick up a few Undrafted Free Agents. Namely Derek Schweiger out of Iowa State, Lewis Kidd out of Montana State, and Sage Doxtater out of New Mexico State. You just never know when you are going to find that diamond in the rough, but we just don't know a whole lot about any of these three and will have to see if one of them becomes that diamond.

However, I am going focus on the more obvious talents for this article.

Carried over from the 2021 season, the Saints still have Calvin Throckmorton, who was then an undrafted free agent out of Oregon. Due to injuries along the interior OL, the 6-5, 310 lb. 2nd team All-American played extensively at guard, starting 14 games during his rookie campaign, and performed fairly well considering expectations were rather low with him being undrafted. His PFF grade was a humble 43.4, the lowest on the team among starters, with the next lowest being Cesar Ruiz @ 57.9, indicating that Guard play without Peat was severely lacking. Throckmorton had an excellent college career and was projected by some draft analysts to go as high as the second round. However, that was before the NFL combine, where he displayed an unexpected lack of speed and agility. His RAS score left a lot to be desired, but Throckmorton is intelligent, plays powerful enough and with a level of heart to compensate. Still, there frankly isn't enough ceiling to have high expectations out of Throckmorton.

The Saints also have 30 yr. old James Hurst. The versatile 6-5, 310 lb. 9-yr. veteran has proven that he can be a quality starter at either tackle or guard, and due to Saints injuries along the OL last season, also spent a lot of time on the field. Hurst, along with the other tackles (Landon Young, Ethan Greenidge, Khalique Washington, Jerald Hawkins) on the Saints Roster, can probably compete for time at Guard. However, they are also likely going to be competing with 2022 Saints first-round pick Trevor Penning for the left tackle spot. Assuming Hurst--whom I would consider the favorite among that group--loses that battle with Penning, he could end up being considered for a starting role at guard, should Ruiz not show marked improvement.

The Saints recently signed 6-2, 298 lb. OL Josh Andrews. The 30-yr old Andrews formerly played this past season for the Falcons (started 2 games) after stints with the Jets (started 4 games), the Colts (as a backup), and the Eagles (as a backup). Andrews is widely viewed as a serviceable backup and a solid depth signing. His last PFF grade was in 2020 and clocked in at 41.2. He has never graded above 60.0, which was in 2016.

1655103515449.png
Forest Lamp (66). Credit Michael C. Hebert

That brings us to the most intriguing interior offensive line acquisition this off-season (actually a re-sign): Forrest Lamp. The 28 yr. old, 6-4, 310 lb Lamp, now going into his 5th season, was the Chargers 2nd round pick (38th overall) in the 2017 draft.

A snippet from his bio at the Saints Official site reads:

"In 2021, the Venice, Fla. native joined the Saints practice squad at midseason after going to training camp with the Buffalo Bills and appeared in one contest for New Orleans. In 2020, Lamp started all 16 games at left guard for the Chargers".
"Lamp played four seasons at Western Kentucky and started 51 games. He earned second-team All-America honors from USA Today in 2016, becoming the first Hilltopper to earn All-America from the publication. He didn't allow a sack in either his junior or senior campaign".


Brendon Croce at Fansided had this to say about Lamp when he signed with the Bills in 2021:

"In 2017, Forrest Lamp was considered one of the best value selections in the NFL Draft that year when the Chargers drafted the offensive lineman in the second round. He was considered one of the better interior offensive linemen prospects in that draft class.

However, the first three years didn’t go as planned as Lamp dealt with a number of injuries. He suffered an ACL injury that forced him to miss his entire rookie season. The next two seasons he would miss time due to injury and played in a total of nine games during that stretch."


Going back to the time that he was drafted out of Western Kentucky, Lamp had an exceptional 9.56 RAS score at the OG position, which was actually higher than that of Ruiz' (9.07) score at the center position:



By comparison, Erik McCoy's RAS score was 8.98, Andrus Peat's was 8.54, and Terron Armstead's was 9.59.

In three of Lamp's first four seasons, he was hampered by injuries and spent much of his time on IR. Bad luck? Injury prone? A little of both? No one knows! Thus it's a little hard to get a read on what he will be capable of coming in, except that he did start that full season for the Chargers in 2020--pretty impressive on the surface, and a revealing season in a couple of regards.

During the 2020 season, Lamp played in 100% of the teams 1175 offensive snaps, all at left guard (first among all guards in 2020). He was only penalized once that year: a single false start. Impressive discipline, and Lamp is credited as allowing only 2 sacks in 2020. Not too bad considering this was essentially his rookie season in terms of game experience. However, when checking Lamp's PFF grade for that year, he was only given a 49.4 performance grade.

Prior to seeing that score, Lamp looked to me like a high reward value signing. However, that low PFF "score" needed to be delved into. What I didn't have was film study to drill a little deeper and ascertain how his talents had translated to the NFL thus far. So I asked Saintsreport.com Staff Writer and Analyst - Coach Dan Levy to review some film on Lamp from 2020 and lend his analysis. After a brief review here is what Dan had to say:


The Good: "I watched the first half of the week 8 game vs. Denver (chose it b/c it was the Chargers best rushing game that year). And it's pretty clear to me why Lamp was drafted early"...
"You can see the athleticism. He moves really well, light on his feet, quick hands. Isn't making mental errors. And everything up until the point of attack looks great."


The Bad: "He is just not aggressive. Doesn't have a mean streak--which, inside, is a liability. He looks light in the butt for guard and a lot of that could stem from his more passive style of play. From the get-go in the Denver game he was getting knocked off the ball in pass pro and got run into the QBs face at least twice in the first quarter. He's quick off the snap and is athletic in his set, but pretty high in his base. Pass rushers get into his body. Good hand placement but just not an aggressive punch. He gets bulled by interior linemen and doesn't bully blitzing backers, himself.

He's also disengaged way too easily, poor finish. Some of it looks like effort, some of it looks like the aforementioned issues in both pass and run game (high sets, weak punch, doesn't lock on and drive in the run game). I haven't seen a play yet where he locked on and really pumped his legs beyond the point of attack--and definitely no pancakes (can't see him ever logging one unless a guy trips). In short yardage and screens, he prefers to try and cut block guys (nothing wrong with that but in the handful of plays he did it, he didn't get his guys on the ground).

2nd level he generally takes good angles, but again, he's kinda bumping guys, boxing out--gets his hands inside now and then, but they shed pretty quickly. I mean, Alex Mack was kind of a finesse blocker too but he finesse blocked AGGRESSIVELY. He rarely got bull rushed or generally bullied around b/c he had an arsenal of techniques and counters and he was aggressive at the point of attack, just used really good leverage and athleticism to win or at least stalemate.

I don't want to be too hard on the guy based on one half of football. But aggression isn't typically something you see flipped on for one game and off for the next, and it's hard to coach. He doesn't look like he's hampered by injury or anything--again, he moves really well. He was prob a guy at the college level who could out-athlete guys and finesse his way into some success, and his athleticism got him drafted early. I mean, a guy like that I would definitely call a good backup, and just off of sheer athleticism maybe he's the best guy to challenge Ruiz.

In a lot of ways, they seem to be suffering from the same issues. Maybe Marrone can get one of them to finally step up.

Or maybe Lamp will decide to be a madman this year. Stranger things have happened"



I copied Coach Dan on what I had written thus far, and Dan added: "I am going to dig into a little more Lamp film later for my own curiosity. But yeah, just at a glance I think he and Ruiz may be suffering from the same issues (athletic but a little light/passive for G, need to be nastier, finish better). Maybe the competition lights a fire under them. But you lay out a good case in your article for Lamp being the best candidate on the roster to push Ruiz, if not outright supplant him. He's the one who doesn't have any physical limitations (other than that lack of aggression, which I see as more mental).

So in review, what we have in Lamp--as well as Ruiz--are Guards that, according to Dan, need to become more Savage. More like what the Saints saw in Trevor Penning. Both Lamp and Ruiz are elite in that they are talented guards with high ceilings, and Lamp should be entering his prime. Lamp has only played in 24 NFL games thus far, which is comparable to Ruiz in terms of game experience. Lamp is also disciplined, meaning that he doesn't experience the mental lapses that typically contribute to penalties.

The bottom line: There is solid competition at the right guard position for Cesar Ruiz, which is always a good thing. If neither Ruiz nor Lamp steps up, then I suspect we will be seeing James Hurst starting at RG with Ruiz and Lamp relegated to interior line depth.


Sidenote:

Dan mentioned to me that former Saint OG Larry Warford, who opted out of the 2020 season, was still a Free Agent. I remembered that the now 30-year old Warford's final season with the Saints in 2019 seemed rather lackluster, but he graded out at PFF with a very respectable 73.1 that season, and was released in a cap savings move. Still, he has been out of football for two entire seasons now. Worth kicking the tires on, one would think. That is, unless he is basically retired now.

I saw that versatile former Saint and fan favorite OL Senio Kelemete is also available, but is now 32. However, when I checked his PFF grade for 2021 it was a paltry 40.0. Not saying that PFF grades tell the whole story, but using it as a baseline, that's pretty low.

Checking Free Agency, while the pickings are rather slim, there are a few decent Guards left out there should the Saints choose to sign one. I will list them along with their latest PFF grades:
 

JvilleJoe

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Forrest Lamp (76) / AP Photo

By Andrus Whitewing, with analysis from Dan Levy | Saintsreport.com Staff

Cesar Ruiz
is saying a lot of the right things this off-season in his quest to validate being taken as the Saints first round pick (24th overall) in the 2020 draft. Judging from his elite 9.07 RAS score, there is little doubt that the 6-3, 307lb. Ruiz has the physical talent to become a quality starter within the Saints interior offensive line. However, while he has shown flashes, Ruiz has yet to show any consistency and has at times looked downright lost.

Some contend that he is playing out of position at RG and is better suited to play center, while others speculate that Ruiz' "getting paid" first round money in 2020 left him a bit distracted--more interested in purchasing and trading-in expensive vehicles than studying the playbook. I don't know whether either is true, but whatever the issues were, he at least appears to be focused on football and improving his game now. As he should be, since there is some intriguing competition breathing down his neck.

Fans were certainly concerned enough about the Guard position to remain hopeful that the Saints would address it in the offseason--not just due to questions concerning Ruiz, but with regard to Andrus Peat as well, mainly due to Peat's propensity for being sidelined with injuries. While many complain about Peat's exorbitant contract, my personal observation is that Andrus Peat is a versatile, pro-bowl caliber offensive lineman 98% of the time, and, other than his injury issues, the main concerns with Peat are his occasional mental lapses that always seem to come at the wrong time, making them more obvious. I would also like to see him remain more on balance, so as to not spend so much time laying on the turf.

So what did the Saints do to address the interior line this off-season?

Most will say... Not much! But is that true? Well, it is, if you are only speaking to the draft, and somewhat true even in free agency. The Saints did not draft a guard, however they did pick up a few Undrafted Free Agents. Namely Derek Schweiger out of Iowa State, Lewis Kidd out of Montana State, and Sage Doxtater out of New Mexico State. You just never know when you are going to find that diamond in the rough, but we just don't know a whole lot about any of these three and will have to see if one of them becomes that diamond.

However, I am going focus on the more obvious talents for this article.

Carried over from the 2021 season, the Saints still have Calvin Throckmorton, who was then an undrafted free agent out of Oregon. Due to injuries along the interior OL, the 6-5, 310 lb. 2nd team All-American played extensively at guard, starting 14 games during his rookie campaign, and performed fairly well considering expectations were rather low with him being undrafted. His PFF grade was a humble 43.4, the lowest on the team among starters, with the next lowest being Cesar Ruiz @ 57.9, indicating that Guard play without Peat was severely lacking. Throckmorton had an excellent college career and was projected by some draft analysts to go as high as the second round. However, that was before the NFL combine, where he displayed an unexpected lack of speed and agility. His RAS score left a lot to be desired, but Throckmorton is intelligent, plays powerful enough and with a level of heart to compensate. Still, there frankly isn't a enough ceiling to have high expectations out of Throckmorton.

The Saints also have 30 yr. old James Hurst. The versatile 6-5, 310 lb. 9-yr. veteran has proven that he can be a quality starter at either tackle or guard, and due to Saints injuries along the OL last season, also spent a lot of time on the field. Hurst, along with the other tackles (Landon Young, Ethan Greenidge, Khalique Washington, Jerald Hawkins) on the Saints Roster, can probably compete for time at Guard. However, they are also likely going to be competing with 2022 Saints first-round pick Trevor Penning for the left tackle spot. Assuming Hurst--whom I would consider the favorite among that group--loses that battle with Penning, he could end up being considered for a starting role at guard, should Ruiz not show marked improvement.

The Saints recently signed 6-2, 298 lb. OL Josh Andrews. The 30-yr old Andrews formerly played this past season for the Falcons (started 2 games) after stints with the Jets (started 4 games), the Colts (as a backup), and the Eagles (as a backup). Andrews is widely viewed as a serviceable backup and a solid depth signing. His last PFF grade was in 2020 and clocked in at 41.2. He has never graded above 60.0, which was in 2016.

1655103515449.png
Forest Lamp (66). Credit Michael C. Hebert

That brings us to the most intriguing interior offensive line acquisition this off-season (actually a re-sign): Forrest Lamp. The 28 yr. old, 6-4, 310 lb Lamp, now going into his 5th season, was the Chargers 2nd round pick (38th overall) in the 2017 draft.

A snippet from his bio at the Saints Official site reads:

"In 2021, the Venice, Fla. native joined the Saints practice squad at midseason after going to training camp with the Buffalo Bills and appeared in one contest for New Orleans. In 2020, Lamp started all 16 games at left guard for the Chargers".
"Lamp played four seasons at Western Kentucky and started 51 games. He earned second-team All-America honors from USA Today in 2016, becoming the first Hilltopper to earn All-America from the publication. He didn't allow a sack in either his junior or senior campaign".


Brendon Croce at Fansided had this to say about Lamp when he signed with the Bills in 2021:

"In 2017, Forrest Lamp was considered one of the best value selections in the NFL Draft that year when the Chargers drafted the offensive lineman in the second round. He was considered one of the better interior offensive linemen prospects in that draft class.

However, the first three years didn’t go as planned as Lamp dealt with a number of injuries. He suffered an ACL injury that forced him to miss his entire rookie season. The next two seasons he would miss time due to injury and played in a total of nine games during that stretch."


Going back to the time that he was drafted out of Western Kentucky, Lamp had an exceptional 9.56 RAS score at the OG position, which was actually higher than that of Ruiz' (9.07) score at the center position:



By comparison, Erik McCoy's RAS score was 8.98, Andrus Peat's was 8.54, and Terron Armstead's was 9.59.

In three of Lamp's first four seasons, he was hampered by injuries and spent much of his time on IR. Bad luck? Injury prone? A little of both? No one knows! Thus it's a little hard to get a read on what he will be capable of coming in, except that he did start that full season for the Chargers in 2020--pretty impressive on the surface, and a revealing season in a couple of regards.

During the 2020 season, Lamp played in 100% of the teams 1175 offensive snaps, all at left guard (first among all guards in 2020). He was only penalized once that year: a single false start. Impressive discipline, and Lamp is credited as allowing only 2 sacks in 2020. Not too bad considering this was essentially his rookie season in terms of game experience wise. However, when checking Lamp's PFF grade for that year, he was only given a 49.4 performance grade.

Prior to seeing that score, Lamp looked to me like a high reward value signing. However, that low PFF "score" needed to be delved into. What I didn't have was film study to drill a little deeper and ascertain how his talents had translated to the NFL thus far. So I asked Saintsreport.com Staff Writer and Analyst - Coach Dan Levy to review some film on Lamp from 2020 and lend his analysis. After a brief review here is what Dan had to say:


The Good: "I watched the first half of the week 8 game vs. Denver (chose it b/c it was the Chargers best rushing game that year). And it's pretty clear to me why Lamp was drafted early"...
"You can see the athleticism. He moves really well, light on his feet, quick hands. Isn't making mental errors. And everything up until the point of attack looks great."


The Bad: "He is just not aggressive. Doesn't have a mean streak--which, inside, is a liability. He looks light in the butt for guard and a lot of that could stem from his more passive style of play. From the get-go in the Denver game he was getting knocked off the ball in pass pro and got run into the QBs face at least twice in the first quarter. He's quick off the snap and is athletic in his set, but pretty high in his base. Pass rushers get into his body. Good hand placement but just not an aggressive punch. He gets bulled my interior linemen and doesn't bully blitzing backers, himself.

He's also disengaged way too easily, poor finish. Some of it looks like effort, some of it looks like the aforementioned issues in both pass and run game (high sets, weak punch, doesn't lock on and drive in the run game). I haven't seen a play yet where he locked on and really pumped his legs beyond the point of attack--and definitely no pancakes (can't see him ever logging one unless a guy trips). In short yardage and screens, he prefers to try and cut block guys (nothing wrong with that but in the handful of plays he did it, he didn't get his guys on the ground).

2nd level he generally takes good angles, but again, he's kinda bumping guys, boxing out--gets his hands inside now and then, but they shed pretty quickly. I mean, Alex Mack was kind of a finesse blocker too but he finesse blocked AGGRESSIVELY. He rarely got bull rushed or generally bullied around b/c he had an arsenal of techniques and counters and he was aggressive at the point of attack, just used really good leverage and athleticism to win or at least stalemate.

I don't want to be too hard on the guy based on one half of football. But aggression isn't typically something you see flipped on for one game and off for the next, and it's hard to coach. He doesn't look like he's hampered by injury or anything--again, he moves really well. He was prob a guy at the college level who could out-athlete guys and finesse his way into some success, and his athleticism got him drafted early. I mean, a guy like that I would definitely call a good backup, and just off of sheer athleticism maybe he's the best guy to challenge Ruiz.

In a lot of ways, they seem to be suffering from the same issues. Maybe Marrone can get one of them to finally step up.

Or maybe Lamp will decide to be a madman this year. Stranger things have happened"



I copied Coach Dan on what I had written thus far, and Dan added: "I am going to dig into a little more Lamp film later for my own curiosity. But yeah, just at a glance I think he and Ruiz may be suffering from the same issues (athletic but a little light/passive for G, need to be nastier, finish better). Maybe the competition lights a fire under them. But you lay out a good case in your article for Lamp being the best candidate on the roster to push Ruiz, if not outright supplant him. He's the one who doesn't have any physical limitations (other than that lack of aggression, which I see as more mental).

So in review, what we have in Lamp--as well as Ruiz--are Guards that, according to Dan, need to become more Savage. More like what the Saints saw in Trevor Penning. Both Lamp and Ruiz are elite in that they are talented guards with high ceilings, and Lamp should be entering his prime. Lamp has only played in 24 NFL games thus far, which is comparable to Ruiz in terms of game experience. Lamp is also disciplined, meaning that he doesn't experience the mental lapses that typically contribute to penalties.

The bottom line: There is solid competition at the right guard position for Cesar Ruiz, which is always a good thing. If neither Ruiz nor Lamp steps up, then I suspect we will be seeing James Hurst starting at RG with Ruiz and Lamp relegated to interior line depth.


Sidenote:

Dan mentioned to me that former Saint OG Larry Warford, who opted out of the 2020 season, was still a Free Agent. I remembered that the now 30-year old Warford's final season with the Saints in 2019 seemed rather lackluster, but he graded out at PFF with a very respectable 73.1 that season, and was released in a cap savings move. Still, he has been out of football for two entire seasons now. Worth kicking the tires on, one would think. That is, unless he is basically retired now.

I saw that versatile former Saint and fan favorite OL Senio Kelemete is also available, but is now 32. However, when I checked and his PFF grade for 2021 it was a paltry 40.0. Not saying that PFF grades tell the whole story, but using it as a baseline, that's pretty low.

Checking Free Agency, while the pickings are rather slim, there are a few decent Guards left out there should the Saints choose to sign one. I will list them along with their latest PFF grades:

Andrus great breakdown by you and added analysis by Dan. We need stout play on the inside and if Peat stays healthy the weak link could easily be the right side. It is frustrating in a way that Ruiz has the talent and measurable’s but to date not the drive to excell, or so it seems. I am really hopeful that Doug Marrone and Zack can get the light turned on with either Ruiz or Lamp. If Marrone can we should have an outstanding line and great depth.
Time will tell…
 
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livefromDC

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Great job, Andrus!

I don't understand PFF sometimes. Spain's grade is pretty solid, but he was part of the notoriously terrible Bengals line and the Bengals couldn't wait to replace him and others from that group. I wonder what gives.
 
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Great job, Andrus!

I don't understand PFF sometimes. Spain's grade is pretty solid, but he was part of the notoriously terrible Bengals line and the Bengals couldn't wait to replace him and others from that group. I wonder what gives.

I don't get PFF at times either. I used it for reference because, well, there isn't any other measure out there to gauge player performance that is considered credible. At least not that I am aware of,

The Saints must not take much stock in PFF's grades, as they signed OL Josh Andrews, who has never graded well, and they have Senio Kelemente in for a tryout after his 40.0 grade last season. Hopefully he was playing hurt or something, because I am certainly a Kelemente fan.
 

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Really great analysis. I love talking actual football and we're going to see some great camp battles this year. By hook or crook the Guard play has to improve. We had great Guard play for so many years and I guess I became spoiled. When healthy Peat will do his job for the most part. He drives me crazy at times but I feel comfortable with him as a starter of the left side. McCoy is rock solid at Center so we just need one of these other Guards to step up. Give Winston a consistent pocket and move people in the run game. If they can do that we'll be fine.
 
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Great write-up. I must say though, Peat is still just as big a problem. I think you are overselling him. Peat's PFF grade is 5 points lower than Ruiz's (52.1 vs. 57.6). As you said PFF grade isn't everything but you don't get in the low 50s by being 98% Pro-Bowl.
 
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I don't get PFF at times either. I used it for reference because, well, there isn't any other measure out there to gauge player performance that is considered credible. At least not that I am aware of,

The Saints must not take much stock in PFF's grades, as they signed OL Josh Andrews, who has never graded well, and they have Senio Kelemente in for a tryout after his 40.0 grade last season. Hopefully he was playing hurt or something, because I am certainly a Kelemente fan.
I never saw the fascination with Kelemete. He's a backup. His main value was being capable of backing up at multiple positions, which is useful, and being relatively inexpensive. Always nice to kick the tires on backups and keep cycling through for marginal gains, but that's about it.
 

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I think we all miss having a Carl Nicks or Jahri Evans on the roster, who were just absolute beasts inside. It was critical for Brees--having that clean pocket to step up into and find throwing windows, due to his height. Without such a stout interior his prime years prob aren't quite as insanely productive.

Either by design or happenstance the Saints have put more money/emphasis at tackle recently (remember, we won a super bowl with John Stinchcomb and Jermon Bushrod at tackle--hardly elite bookends). It is hard to have all-pros across the board, but the Saints have 4 out of 5 potentially. RG just needs to not be a liability. Ruiz and Lamp are both physically capable (though you'd like for them to be a little thicker/heavier), but someone in that RG mix has to start playing with some attitude.
 

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I think we all miss having a Carl Nicks or Jahri Evans on the roster, who were just absolute beasts inside. It was critical for Brees--having that clean pocket to step up into and find throwing windows, due to his height. Without such a stout interior his prime years prob aren't quite as insanely productive.

Either by design or happenstance the Saints have put more money/emphasis at tackle recently (remember, we won a super bowl with John Stinchcomb and Jermon Bushrod at tackle--hardly elite bookends). It is hard to have all-pros across the board, but the Saints have 4 out of 5 potentially. RG just needs to not be a liability. Ruiz and Lamp are both physically capable (though you'd like for them to be a little thicker/heavier), but someone in that RG mix has to start playing with some attitude.
The best case scenario is Penning balls out, wins LT. Hurst and Ruiz battle for RG, best man wins.

That's pretty unlikely to play out, unless Penning clearly shows great ability in the first week or two of training camp, and Ruiz is struggling a lot.
 

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The best case scenario is Penning balls out, wins LT. Hurst and Ruiz battle for RG, best man wins.
I think Hurst might be the guy (at least to challenge) considering he signed a 3 year extension. What do you think about the way he's built J? This is a bit of personal/scouting preference coming through, but I think we have a girth issue (for lack of a better word) on the interior line. A lot of 6'5 310, tackle types, and not enough 6'3 340 wide load trucks.

Again, it's a little trivial. But when I was watching the Lamp film I couldn't help but notice how high and light he looked (again, 90% technique, but I latch onto the body type).
 
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I never saw the fascination with Kelemete. He's a backup. His main value was being capable of backing up at multiple positions, which is useful, and being relatively inexpensive. Always nice to kick the tires on backups and keep cycling through for marginal gains, but that's about it.

The fascination is probably because when he was a backup here he performed extremely well in the role. Well enough to become a fan favorite and earn a fairly fat contract in Houston, anyway. He was quality depth that could start at guard or tackle without the OL missing a beat at the time. I have no idea if he still has it, but the fact that no one has signed him this offseason is a bit telling. Still, I think he at least earned a tire kicking. :hihi:

I do get what you are saying, but there is not much out there in FA at the guard position to say "we gotta get this guy", right now. Not unless you want to go after a UFA OT like Duane Brown, or Riley Rieff as one-year rentals and try moving Penning inside for a season, which I don't see happening. I would probably look at moving a current OT like Landon Young inside. He's a tough big 'ol boy that can drive defensive lineman back and win one-on-one's, and may be better suited to play guard in the NFL. More the type that TCU Dan likes, I think. :)
 

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I think Hurst might be the guy (at least to challenge) considering he signed a 3 year extension. What do you think about the way he's built J? This is a bit of personal/scouting preference coming through, but I think we have a girth issue (for lack of a better word) on the interior line. A lot of 6'5 310, tackle types, and not enough 6'3 340 wide load trucks.

Again, it's a little trivial. But when I was watching the Lamp film I couldn't help but notice how high and light he looked (again, 90% technique, but I latch onto the body type).
Yeah, when I look at Hurst I kinda think to myself he's a bit lumpy looking. But whatever he looks like, he's reasonably effective. I don't think he's a great LT, but he's ok. I think I like him better inside.

And yes, for some schemes a 6'3 340 road grader type guard is great. If you want to run a power gap scheme where these guys need to lever DT's out of position, then you want that. However, when you do more zone stuff, other things become more important like movement, agility and balance. That's not to say a 6'3, 340lbs guard couldn't do that, in the same way a 6'5 310 guard might be great in a power scheme; but generally one body type fits one scheme of the other better.

Ultimately though, it's not about body types, it's about outcomes. Who gets the job done, better, and more often.
 

Belfast Saint

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The fascination is probably because when he was a backup here he performed extremely well in the role. Well enough to become a fan favorite and earn a fairly fat contract in Houston, anyway. He was quality depth that could start at guard or tackle without the OL missing a beat at the time. I have no idea if he still has it, but the fact that no one has signed him this offseason is a bit telling. Still, I think he at least earned a tire kicking. :hihi:

I do get what you are saying, but there is not much out there in FA at the guard position to say "we gotta get this guy", right now. Not unless you want to go after a UFA OT like Duane Brown, or Riley Rieff as one-year rentals and try moving Penning inside for a season, which I don't see happening. I would probably look at moving a current OT like Landon Young inside. He's a tough big 'ol boy that can drive defensive lineman back and win one-on-one's, and may be better suited to play guard in the NFL. More the type that TCU Dan likes, I think. :)
I get the underdog thing. Who doesn't like an underdog!? I suppose though he was over-valued by fans, whereas others were under-valued. He parlayed that into a nice contract as you say, but that was on a very poor OL and that didn't last very long. I'd say he had a good run for us and helped out in multiple positions where we had injuries. But that was his ceiling, a useful and versatile backup. Maybe he's still at that level and it's worth seeing, but I would be very surprised (and very worried) if he's anywhere near competing for a starting position.
 

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Yeah, when I look at Hurst I kinda think to myself he's a bit lumpy looking. But whatever he looks like, he's reasonably effective. I don't think he's a great LT, but he's ok. I think I like him better inside.

And yes, for some schemes a 6'3 340 road grader type guard is great. If you want to run a power gap scheme where these guys need to lever DT's out of position, then you want that. However, when you do more zone stuff, other things become more important like movement, agility and balance. That's not to say a 6'3, 340lbs guard couldn't do that, in the same way a 6'5 310 guard might be great in a power scheme; but generally one body type fits one scheme of the other better.

Ultimately though, it's not about body types, it's about outcomes. Who gets the job done, better, and more often.
Yeah theoretically Ruiz/Lamp would be great for a zone scheme, given their athleticism... just that lack of aggression doesn't translate well into anything.
 

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Great write-up. I must say though, Peat is still just as big a problem. I think you are overselling him. Peat's PFF grade is 5 points lower than Ruiz's (52.1 vs. 57.6). As you said PFF grade isn't everything but you don't get in the low 50s by being 98% Pro-Bowl.
Three. Pro Bowls for Peat, that is.
 

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