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New Orleans Saints 2017 NFL Offseason Needs and Preview

New Orleans Saints 2017 NFL Offseason Needs and Preview


2017 New Orleans Saints Offseason Preview


NFL News and Previews


2016 Season Recap

For the third straight year (fifth in 10 years), the Saints finished their season with a 7-9 record, which makes one think if people ought to include Drew Brees and/or Sean Payton with Jeff Fisher in the 7-9 memes.

They should, right?

Brees, however, is not the problem for the mediocrity – OBVIOUSLY. The future Hall-of-Famer had his fourth 5,000-plus yard season this year (5,208 yards, 37-15 TD-INT ratio) and once again guided the Saints into ranking first in the league in yards (sixth time in his 11 seasons with the team).

Through his passing prowess, he also helped another pair of receivers to have big years, as Branding Cooks and rookie Michael Thomas each had over 1,100 yards and a combined 17 TD grabs.

The men in the backfield were also imposing. Mark Ingram had 1,362 all-purpose yards (career-high 1,043 rushing yards) and 10 total TDs, and RB2 Tim Hightower complemented it by totalling for 748 yards and five TDs.

As for the defense… welp, it’s one of the league’s worst.. again. For the fourth time in five years, the Saints are in the bottom five in both points and yards allowed. This past season, six opponents hung 30 or more points on their defense, and in a combined 16 times, they gave up 300 or more yards through the air and 100 or more yards through the ground.

 

Top Free Agency Needs

For re-signing guys, particularly in the LB/DL spots, Nick Fairley (fifth among DTs in sacks in 2016) and Paul Kruger are two guys they will focus on, since both are key pieces of their pass rushing and run stopping game.

In the secondary, Sterling Moore may be retained. He had a strong showing in his first year with the team, as he recorded or tied career-highs in pass deflections (13), tackles (44), and interceptions (two).

As for searching for reinforcements in the free agency market, the Saints could look to reload more on defense, especially since there are a truckload of great defensive playmakers available – Demarcus Ware, Lawrence Timmons, Calais Campbell, Trumaine Johnson, Brandon Carr, Sam Shields, etc.

On offense, it may be interesting to see if they’ll take a peek at two-time Pro-Bowler Jermaine Gresham, a veteran who can still show flashes of his great skills as a TE. He could be a great addition for the high-powered offense, and may pair well to the team’s other TE, Coby Fleener.

Top Draft Needs

Defensive back — They may have a good pair of safeties in Kenny Vaccaro and Jairus Byrd, but they are dead-last in pass defense, and two of their decent D-backs (Moore and Roman Harper) are entering free agency.

Defensive lineman — Fairley, who’s second in the team in sacks (6.5), will receive plenty of offers in the market, and the Saints will need an insurance because of that. Also, they finished 2016 ranking 27th in sacks.

It’ll all go back to what was mentioned in their free agency needs. The Saints simply need defensive playmakers, it doesn’t matter if it’s an end, linebacker, tackle, etc, but they have to be playmakers.

 

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JE
Written by JE

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