Franchise Building Blocks: New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints missed the playoffs again this past season and will need to make some major roster changes to fix the problem.

Drew Brees appears capable of playing at a high level for several more seasons. As long as he’s in the mix the New Orleans Saints will have a shot of making the playoffs and winning a Super Bowl. However, this is a team that hasn’t been able to build a complete roster in a long time.

The Saints main issues come on the defensive side of the ball where they again ranked in the lower half of the league. However, there are some reasons for optimism thanks to the collection of talent along the defensive line.

This group includes Cameron Jordan, Nick Fairley and rookie Sheldon Rankins. The defense as a whole started to perform better once Rankins was able to take the field. This trio excels at generating pressure on the quarterback and disrupting the timing of the offense.

The other levels of the defense have little long-term building blocks with Vonn Bell and Delvin Breaux as the closest thing. I’d love to include Stephone Anthony in the conversation, but his lack of playing time says the Saints don’t value him.

Offensively, New Orleans has a collection of talented playmakers and solid offensive line play. Rookie Michael Thomas added another aspect to the offense with his size and ability to high point the football. Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead are two more receivers who are part of the long-term picture.

The offensive line features Teron Armstead and Max Unger as its leaders. Both are high-end talents who anchor the line when healthy. Veteran Zach Strief is also a major part of the offensive line and continues to play good football.

Mark Ingram is an effective running back who works well alongside Drew Brees. His numbers would look much better in an offense that focuses on feeding him the football.

The Saints threw some money at Coby Fleener and will be expecting more consistent production in the future. However, the money they game him means he’ll be a part of the game plan moving forward.

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