The New Orleans Saints made the playoffs again, beating the Philadelphia Eagles a slim margin, 26-24. They lost to San Francisco and finished the season with an 11-5 record. Much different than the 2012 season disaster, when Head Coach Sean Payton was serving out a 1 year suspension for “bounty-gate”.
Payton is back in 2013 and he hires a new defensive coordinator
The 2013 New Orleans season started off strong bringing in new offensive coordinator, Rob Ryan from the Dallas Cowboys and he turned around their much beleaguered defense immediately by transitioning them from a 4-3 to a 3-4 scheme. The New Orleans Saints went from giving up the 31st most points per game in 2012 to being ranked 4th in points allowed in 2013. How Rob Ryan didn’t get defensive coach of the year honors is beyond me. A total re-build from the ground up, to me that was amazing and I expect them to only get better in 2014. The ironic part of Dallas Cowboys and Jerry Jones firing Rob and essentially making him the scapegoat for their 2012 implosion is the fact that the Cowboys led the league with points allowed under new defensive coordinator, Monte Kiffin the following year, thus getting worse He lost that job at the end of 2013 season which is a typical Jerry move. Reality is the Dallas Cowboys are a terrible defense and that will remain the same in 2014 as well.
New Orleans needs in the 2014 NFL draft
The New Orleans Saints need to add these positions: CB, WR, LB. They signed free agent Safety Jairus Byrd giving the Saints an All Pro Safety tandem. They need an edge rusher than can help disrupt the opponent’s QB. The Saints signed veteran CB Champ Bailey from the Denver Broncos and he can bring leadership in the secondary. I had The Saints drafting Kyle Fuller with their first round draft pick in my 2014 NFL Mock Draft, but the Chicago Bears destroyed that prediction when they chose him with their 14th draft pick.
2014 NFL DRAFT PICK RECAP AND ANALYSIS
Brandin Cooks WR, Oregon State Round 1 Pick # 20
Moving up and trading their 3rd round draft pick to Arizona Cardinals was a smart move with the Green Bay Packers drafting next with the 21st pick and definitely in the market for a premiere speedy wide receiver. Sean Payton pulls the trigger and adds a speedster with sure hands for Drew Brees to play catch on Sunday with. An immediate impact player, New Orleans fans will love this guy. Brandin Cooks may also get punt return duties. Losing Lance Moore will not factor in with Cooks on the field in his place. A healthy Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston spell trouble for the NFC South. I predict that Brandin Cooks will be the 2014 Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Stanley Jean-Baptiste CB, Nebraska Round 2 Pick # 26
The Saints make a statement in the NFC South taking this “Richard Sherman” type CB. Today’s prototypical Cornerback stands 6’4″ and weighs 220 pounds and will match up perfectly with division rivals the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Atlanta Falcons who both have two tall wide receivers to cover. The Saints are officially stacked in the secondary and can afford to play a man to man and DC Rob Ryan can be the blitz obsessed defensive coordinator that will make him a happy crazy guy. Love this draft pick and shocked other teams earlier didn’t jump on him.
Khairi Fortt LB, California Round 4 Pick # 26
Very quick linebacker who moves like a defensive back. Has amazing strength as evidenced by his 30 reps at the NFL Combine and his 4.7 40 time should make him a great stunt blitzing ILB and he can also patrol center-field as an extra safety in the nickel. Needs to become a student of the game and if he goes the Saints got themselves a versatile Pro Bowl player in the 4th round.
Vinnie Sunseri SS, Alabama Round 5 Pick # 27
Some depth at the Safety position for Rob Ryan to work on. Will be a special teams player until he develops NFL skills and there is an opening. His football intellect will accelerate that evolution.
Ronald Powell LB, Florida Round 5 Pick # 29
Picked up this draft pick when the Saints traded RB Darren Sproles to Philadelphia. Former #1 ranked high school player, this guy never achieved was what expected in college. Never really worked and everyone caught up to him. Will have to put in the blood, sweat and tears to make the club and Payton and Ryan won’t but up with his lazy attitude for very long. Typical bust player but worth a shot.
Tavon Rooks T,Kansas State Round 6 Pick # 26
project player that will take a few years to become even mentionable. Has the raw skills and quick feet, but needs to add size and strength. If that happens with some god coaching, he could eventually earn a starting job. Excellent use of the 6th round pick.
Overall Team Draft Day Analysis
Excellent draft by Sean Payton and the New Orleans staff. They moved up and cherry picked Brandin Cooks right under the nose of the Packers, They added a CB in Jean-Baptiste that will counter the draft pick of Mike Evans in Tampa Bay and prepare to meet a healthy Julio Jones and Roddy White in Atlanta. 4th round they find a hybrid linebacker/safety that will be a huge help to maintain the Saints new top rated defense. Great Draft and should put the New Orleans Saints in the playoff conversation.
Draft Grade: A-
Saints had a great day really without any bad moves. Had they gotten a Center in rond 5 with their 29 th pick I would have given them a Grade A.
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