The Saints have gone an entire year without a Super Bowl. They look to get off the schneid in 2011, starting with a big draft. Jon Banks of Canal Street Chronicles talks about the team’s need to bolster the pass rush…
1. Most mock drafts have defensive ends heading to New Orleans, which makes particular sense because this is a draft rich in pass rushers. Do you expect the Saints to go down that path?
I do. The Saints pass rush is abysmal when there is no blitzing and Alex Brown is more of a run stopping defensive end, or a 5 tech. Will Smith is the Saints’ only pass rushing end that can be solid against the run as well. And with a better defensive end on the other side of Smith (assuming he does not serve his suspension for the StarCaps case), and Rogers and Ellis in the middle, the Saints may finally have a solid pass rush without having to blitz. Although I’m sure Gregg Williams will still blitz.
2. Who specifically are you hoping they draft?
This may be counter-intuitive to everything I said earlier, but my personal preference is Mark Ingram. Now, he may not even be there at 24 for the Saints to take, but my Ingram mania refuses to let me see the light. The reason I want Ingram comes down to our running backs. Pierre Thomas is currently the best running back on the roster. However, Thomas cannot handle the burden of being the workhorse back. It’s why in 2009 the Saints even had Mike Bell running the ball over Pierre. Reggie Bush is, well, Reggie Bush. He’s the best athlete on the Saints roster, but in terms of running the ball he’s still trying to figure out that North-South thing. So to have a guy who can handle the workload of 15-20 carries a game, be able to run effectively, and catch the ball will be phenomenal in the Saints offense.
3. Any under-the-radar positions of need you’re hoping they address?
A position most people may not realize needing upgrading is offensive tackle. Jermon Bushrod was effective in most of the games in 2009, especially considering he was the backup left tackle, but he took a clear tumble in 2010. He would frequently give up pressures on Drew Brees, miss a blocker, and routinely committed false start penalties. On other other side, Jon Stinchcomb will be 32 years old during the 2011 season. His performance in 2010 was mediocre most days, and sub-par on others. Though Bushrod is more of a weak link, Stinchcomb needs to at least have someone to mentor soon before he becomes complete garbage. So if the Saints take the best available offensive tackle in Round 1, I would not be all that surprised considering Sean Payton’s well-known love of offense.