Good Saints Needs Analysis
New Orleans Saints
Defensive tackle (5/5): Weakness at this position forces defensive end Darren Howard to move inside for much of the 2004 season. Howard responded well in terms of sack production, notching 11, but was unable to prevent opposing teams from averaging over 140 yards per game on the ground. The Saints will likely deal Howard to either the Cowboys or the Raiders by draft day. This would force the Saints to employ Howard Green and undersized Brian Young as their starting tackle pairings. Clearly, an upgrade is needed. Willie Whitehead has long been a productive wave player, but he failed to register a sack last season and, at 32 years of age, his play is slipping. Rookie Rodney Leisle only saw action in one game last season and he will likely never mature into a starter. And Kenny Smith departed to Oakland in free agency. Many of the problems associated with this position stem from the fact that former top ten selection Johnathan Sullivan has been utterly incapable of nailing down the starting job. In his two seasons, Sullivan has only started 16 games and generated a mere 1.5 sacks. The Saints may very well be forced to give up on Sullivan, consign him to the bust category, and move forward by using a high pick on a talented tackle.
Weakside linebacker (4/5): Derrick Rodgers and Colby Buckwoldt are the two most likely candidates to start. Buckwoldt exceeded expectations in his rookie season, notching 37 tackles and a sack, but it is far too early to give him the starting job. Rodgers will be 34 this October and, while be possesses a great deal of experience, he is not known as a playmaker. Last season, he registered 0 sacks and only 0.5 tackles for loss. Ideally, the Saints would draft a WLB who could be inserted directly into the starting lineup and save Rodgers, Buckwoldt, and recently acquired Levar Fisher for use on special teams. Buckwoldt could also be a situational contributor and perhaps push for starting time on the strongside.
Quarterback (4/5): A disputable need perhaps, but one where the Saints could only benefit from bringing in some competition for the starting job. Make no mistake, Aaron Brooks is talented. His career passing rating is a respectable 81.5 and he has always had a positive touchdown-to-interception ratio. But Brooks just turned 29, has frequently struggled with his consistency, and may never be able to take the Saints beyond an 8-8 record. Indeed, one has to wonder whether BrooksÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ potential has capped out. Competition might energize him and furnish him with the will to guide the Saints into the playoffs. Even if competition doesnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t galvanize Brooks, the Saints need to be thinking about the future, because, as mentioned, Brooks will be entering his sixth season and can no longer be considered a young quarterback. Backing-up Brooks is Todd Bouman, who has played in a total of only 10 games in his four year career. The Saints would be in danger if Bouman were called upon to start. The third stringer is Kliff Kingsbury, who has evidenced no starting potential and seems doomed to carrying a clipboard and signaling in calls for as long as he lasts in the NFL.
Other needs: Strong safety, strongside linebacker, left tackle.
Good Saints Needs Analysis
Especially with the head Sunshiner , Hassteroid still Head Coach ....
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