Ranking the top 10 New Orleans Saints players
Who are the 10 best players on the best team in the NFL?
Aside from No. 1, it is not an easy question as the Saints set out to defend their Super Bowl title, but here is my assessment. Iím sure this top 10 will rile up some people who vehemently disagree with the selections and the order, particularly the absence of a certain tight end.
Keep in mind, this is not a list of the most valuable Saints or the most indispensible Saints. Rankings like those hinge on the quality of the playersí backups rather than the quality of the players themselves. That doesnít interest me.
Feel free to disagree and offer alternative suggestions.
1) Drew Brees
This pick is so obvious, nothing needs to be added. Well, except this. The Saints have good receivers, but watch how often they have very little separation on the player covering them when Brees hits them in the hands for big plays. He makes them look better than they are.
2) Jabari Greer
Greer struggled in preseason practices against the Houston Texans. Was last year a fluke? Um, no. Against the Vikings, he looked every bit as good as he did for all of 2009, when he allowed the second-lowest completion percentage among cornerbacks behind Darrelle Revis of the New York Jets when the ball was thrown in his direction. Nothing Greer accomplished in Buffalo indicated he would be this terrific, but something about New Orleans suits him perfectly.
3) Jahri Evans
Iím not going to pretend Iím an expert on the intricacies of line play or that I tape the games and go over every play several times to watch the blocking. But the people who do those things insist Evans is as good as any guard in the NFL. It was a no-brainer for the Saints to sign him to that record-setting contract in the offseason.
4) Tracy Porter
NFL rules make it almost impossible for cornerbacks to blanket receivers, but the Saints have two lock-down corners, or as close as you can get to that level these days. Although Porter is not quite as reliable as Greer, ask Peyton Manning about his ball-hawking skills and athletic ability.
5) Will Smith
NFL teams are dead without an elite pass rusher. Smith, healthy from start to finish last year, was a disruptive force as the Saintsí defense turned into a big-play unit. His presence made the secondaryís job much easier.
6) Pierre Thomas
He has never been a 1,000-yard gainer and probably will not get there this year in the Saintsí pass-first scheme, but no NFL running back is more underrated than this guy. Thomas is a tough runner who finds the right crease. He also reads blocks on screens better than almost any back in the NFL and is more dangerous on them than Reggie Bush. Thomas puts the balance in Paytonís offense.
7) Jonathan Vilma
Some would have this steady, heady playmaker higher. Vilma, who has been labeled the Brees of the Saintsí defense, plays the run and the pass very well and is a lock to lead the Saints in tackles again if he stays healthy. He needs to wrap up better than he did last year, when too often he hit guys instead of going for the form tackle.
8) Marques Colston
Hereís another one that will be too low for some peopleís taste. Colston is the best receiver for the best passing offense in the NFL, incredibly tough to stop on in routes because of his size and body control and fast enough to make plays downfield, too. Two quibbles: he does not get the separation of a truly elite receiver, and he drops more passes than his sterling reputation for sticky fingers would indicate. The next commentator who says he rarely drops passes after he mishandles one should be presented with a tape of the last five announcers who said the same thing.
9) Sedrick Ellis
When Ellis was healthy for the first half of 2009, the Saints held six of eight opponents below 100 yards on the ground. In the first five games he sat out, they surrendered an average of 149.6 yards. He is headed for a huge year if he can stay on the field.
10) Reggie Bush
Bush was nowhere near one of the Saintsí 10 best players last year until the playoffs, when he exploded against Arizona. But he looked better in training camp than ever before. If he stays healthy Ė a big if Ė he should have his best statistical year in the NFL and justify all that previously empty talk (not by him, but by Bush apologists) about giving opposing defensive coordinators headaches with his multiple dimensions.
Ranking the top 10 New Orleans Saints players - New Orleans Sports | Examiner.com
I think Carl Nicks belongs on this list somewhere, but then again, who would you take off the list?
I'd have to go with this order...
5. J. Evans
10. Harper (Swap with Jenkins if week 1 is a sign of things to come)
I do think Vilma needs to be higher!!
Are you insane?
#2 is pierre thomas!!! with no threat at RB, bress and all the wrs and tes production would plumet. Bush shows flashes between the tackles, but without Pierre....there is NO super bowl win.
3. J. Evans
10. Will Smith
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