Friday, April 30, 2010

Saints Nation: Getting to Know Saints' Undrafted Rookie Free Agent Marcell Young

Here's an interview with new Saints' cornerback and undrafted rookie free agent Marcell Young. This is a great interview as he showed a lot of personality in his answers. I like this guy already. Hopefully he can compete and make his way onto the team. I think he could become a fan favorite in the making. Thanks again to Marcell and good luck this season!! 

Saints Nation: What were your expectations going into the draft? Were you told you'd be drafted by a certain round?

Marcell Young: Well I was expecting a late round chance in the 6th to 7th round. The Rams called me and told me they were going to take me in the seventh round but they didn't!

SN:  I'm sure not getting drafted was a disappointment, but talk about the process afterward and how you feel about joining the Saints?

MY: After the draft I had about seven teams offer me a free agent deal and the Rams were one. I was upset with the Rams for not taking me in the seventh so when they called I declined their offer! When the Saints called, I was at my daughter's birthday party and they said they were trying to get a corner in free agency and said if I signed I would be the only one they signed. I asked them if I could think it over for a few minutes and they said ok, but right after we hung up Coach Payton and their DB coach called. I said to myself that they must really want me and that made me feel good so I chose my favorite team! All the other teams that I talked to, their head coach or db coach didn't get on the phone!

SN: Who is the toughest player you've gone up against during your college career?

MY: One of the toughest players I faced in college was Demetrius Byrd from LSU. We played junior college ball against each other.

SN: Do you know anyone on the Saints or have any ties with the team, or will you be going in completely blind?

MY:  I don't know anyone on the Saints team! My mentor this past season was Deuce but he is no longer on the team. So it looks like I'll be completely blind, I hope they'll embrace me!

SN: Can you maybe tell the Saints fans what they should expect from you as a player? Any big time college moment experiences you want to share with us?

MY: The Saints fan should expect a hard working, blue collared guy who doesn't mind making an appearance to speak to kids or different events! They should expect me to make this team and contribute on where ever they coaches need me!

SN: What do you know about the Saints cornerback situation going in? It's crowded with depth so do you see it as an uphill battle making the team?

MY: Yeah, I know it's crowded, but I don't see it as an uphill battle because my play and overall work ethic will speak for itself! All the teams that called me had crowded secondaries so it wasn't going to be easy anywhere I went... But I don't want it to be easy! Thanks man! Who Dat!?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Saints Nation: Getting to Know Saints' Undrafted Rookie Free Agent Rafael Priest

Saints' new rookie undrafted free agent Rafael Priest of TCU was kind enough to stop by Saints Nation and tell us a little bit about himself. I've got a few of these lined up so you can look forward to these in the coming days. Many thanks to Rafael for taking the time. He seems like a hard worker, a class act, and a player with potential. Best of luck to him!

Saints Nation: Welcome to the Saints and thanks for doing this! Can you tell me about the draft? Did you expect to get drafted and were you told you might go by a certain round?

Rafael Priest: I expected to get drafted in the late rounds and only the late rounds because I suffered a foot injury before we played in the Fiesta Bowl. So with that injury I didn't get to run a 40 time on my pro day, and the injury scared teams off. During the season I was projected to be a 4th-5th round pick.

SN: I'm sure not getting drafted was a disappointment, especially with your success prior to the injury, but talk about the process afterward and how you feel about joining the Saints?

RP: After the draft I was disappointed but I was very fortunate to join the world champion Saints!

SN: Who is the toughest player you've gone up against during your college career?

RP: Throughout my career at TCU I have faced plenty of great receivers and many of them are NFL starters/contributors. So for me to pin-point 1 particular receiver would be very tough!

SN: So do you know anyone on the Saints or have any ties with the team, or will you be going in completely blind?

RP: No I don't know anyone or have any ties with the Saints organization. Other than I played with David Roach who's currently a safety for the Rams, he started his career off with the Saints a couple of years ago.

SN: I saw you had a streak of 47 consecutive games started in college, is that right? That's a ridiculous stat. What else should Saints fans know about you as a player?

RP: Yea that's correct, I started every year I was at TCU. I always play like I'm the underdog. I'm only about 5'10 but when I play you would never know. I started the season ranked as 6th best cornerback in the nation. I was also a 3rd team All-American on a couple of lists. My stats weren't that good this year because I didn't get much action on my side!

SN: What do you know about the Saints cornerback situation going in? It's crowded with depth so do you see it as an uphill battle making the team?

RP: I know its pretty stacked, but I also know a lot of corners got hurt this past season and they gave free agents opportunities. I have the mindset that I am a draft pick that slipped to free agency because of my prior injury that I'm now healthy from. Its gonna be a challenge, but I'm ready.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Saints Nation: Grading Drafts Is Stupid

I will not be handing out a letter grade for the Saints' draft class, or anyone's. The idea that "experts" can tell how good or bad a draft is just hours after it happened has to be the most ridiculous concept I've ever heard. Like anyone would know what genius picks Jahri Evans and Marques Colston were going into the draft. Based on their production since the draft, both players would have been top 10 picks, not drafted in the 4th and 7th rounds respectively. I'm pretty sure Pierre Thomas wouldn't have gone undrafted either. Similarly, how often are picks labeled "can't miss" only to flop royally? I really don't think you can put any stock in how people grade draft classes unless those grades are given a MINIMUM of 3 years later. The bottom line is the draft isn't an exact science. Fans don't know what they're getting, media "experts" don't know, and the teams don't even know for sure. As much time that's spent scouting, interviewing, and testing, teams still get it wrong all the time.

So here's what I suggest you do if you hear any talk about the Saints having an awful or mediocre draft (or even a great one): wait at least three years before rushing to judgment. To further illustrate what a difference a year can make, consider that Meachem and Bushrod were both considered horrible picks leading up to 2009, a couple years into the careers of both players. Look how they contributed in 2009, and in one year the importance of those picks made a complete 180. Patience is a virtue.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Saints Nation: Former Saint Aaron Stecker Retires

Amidst free agency, the draft, my interview with Jonathan Goodwin, and undrafted rookie signings, Aaron Stecker's retirement last week got lost in the shuffle. I did want to give the man his due, though, because while he was never a superstar in the league, he was always a very valuable role player. Stecker was a special teams captain and stalwart, but he was also a versatile back that could run outside, between the tackles, catch the football, and block. Stecker played 5 seasons for the Saints from 2004 to 2008, and started 15 games due to injuries to players ahead of him on the depth chart at running back. His most productive season was 2007 when he rushed for 448 yards, caught 36 passes, and scored 5 times. He also ran back a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown in 2004 against his former team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Thanks for the memories #27, and thanks for your time with the team. He was always a fun football player to watch, and he embodied the high character/hard working prototypical Saint we've come to expect over the last few years.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Saints Nation: Interview with Saints' Pro Bowl Center Jonathan Goodwin

Below is an interview made just before the draft with Saints' Pro Bowl center Jonathan Goodwin. I always greatly appreciate how generous the players are with their time, and Jonathan was no exception. A class guy, through and through. Many thanks to him, and I hope you enjoy!

Saints Nation: So the schedule just got released. Anything jump out at you? I know you guys just take it one game at a time, but the rematch against Minnesota and the Thanksgiving day game against Dallas are big time events.

Jonathan Goodwin: Yes, we will be on national TV a lot this year.  Also we have some tough turnarounds on our schedule.  For example playing in San Francisco on a Monday night and then coming home for a division game against the Falcons.   I think we will be ready.  Its a tough schedule but one I think we will be prepared for.  I'm excited!

SN: Going back to your early days with the Saints, you started as a backup and got the starting spot once Jeff Faine left in free agency. Those were big shoes to fill because Faine was a big time player in New Orleans. Based on your Pro Bowl invite this year, I'd say you filled those shoes and then some. Can you talk about how difficult that was, stepping into a more prominent role with the team?

JG: It was not too difficult for me.  I didn't play a lot early on as a Saint but I started in some key games when i was in New York (with the Jets).  I am a confident player and I knew I could get the job done when called upon.  I thank the organization for believing in me.  I knew I would be the question mark of the line when I was plugged in, so it was my goal to show that the center position would not be a weak link because Jeff left.

SN: During this past season, the game against the Vikings in the NFC Championship is the only time I can remember a botched snap all year long. It's funny, when that happened I thought to myself "I don't think Goodwin and Brees have done that all season". It seems easy, but you see college teams, high school teams, and even pro teams struggle getting clean snaps. What it is about your chemistry with Drew and your ability to snap the ball that is so consistent and makes it look so easy? I think Saints fans take for granted how your shotgun snaps are on the money every time, and how we almost never have fumbled snaps. Any secrets there? Am I right that it's taken for granted a little bit?

JG: The most important thing is the exchange.  Without that no offensive play can take place.  The center and the quarterback are the only positions that touch the ball every play.  Drew and I take a lot of pride in it.  You are right, that was our only botched snap!

SN: With Jammal Brown going down this past season and Jermon Bushrod coming in, that was a lot more pressure on you and the rest of the line to help out the blindside. I noticed blocking schemes that shifted to the left, double teams, and chips. Probably more so than if Jammal Brown hadn't gotten hurt. How much did his injury change your game plan as a blocking unit, and how do you think Bushrod handled left tackle?

JG: Jermon did a great job for us.  That is a very difficult position to play in this league.  To have to go against the pass rushers he had to face this year was not an easy task.  Losing Jammal was tough.  He is a key part of our line and one of the top tackles in the game but with some of the rushers they see at the position even he gets help sometimes.  As a line we try to help each other as much as possible.

SN: I know you battled little bumps and bruises all season long. Props to you for playing through it all season and playing well. I think it was ankle issues? Are you feeling better and healthy now?

JG: Yes it was my ankle and im doing much better now.

SN:  Talk about how special the SuperBowl win was for you.

JG: It's something i will cherish the rest of my life.  Its very rare that you have the chance to say you are the best in the world.  I still have a hard time putting it into words.  To become a starter and help the Saints win a Super Bowl will always be a great memory for me.

SN: What are your goals for the 2010 season? Personally and as a team?

JG: Last year was a perfect year for me.  Pro bowl and Super bowl win all in one year.  So I would love to have that happen again this year.

SN: Anything else you want to tell the fans about you? Lots of Saints fans read my blog so this is your chance to tell them something if you'd like to.

JG: I would just like to thank the fans.  The support is unbelievable.  Ive been on another team before so I know how much better Saints fans are.  Keep the support coming and we will do our best to keep the titles coming.

Thanks again Jonathan, and good luck to you in 2010!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saints Nation: Saints' 2010 Undrafted Rookie Free Agents List

There's been confirmation, per KFFL, Mike Triplett of the Times-Picayune, Fletcher Mackel, WDSU Sports Anchor, and

DE Junior Galette of Stillman College
LB Jason Beauchamp of UNLV
LS Clint Gresham of TCU
DT Ekom Udofia of Stanford
DT Jay Ross of ECU
S Harry Coleman of LSU (pictured)
OL Brandon Carter of Texas Tech
CB Marcell Young of Jacksonville St.
S Ryan Hamilton of Vanderbilt
RB Chris Ivory of Washington St.
CB Rafael Priest of TCU
QB A.J. McKenna of Albany St.
RB Christian Ducre of Mississippi St.
WR Jamarko Simmons of WMU

Per, LSU WR Chris Mitchell will also join the team as a training camp invitee, though he has received no contract.

I will continue to update as more news comes in.

Saints Nation: Saints Select Sean Canfield in 7th Round with their last pick, a QB from Oregon St.

The Saints drafted a left handed quarterback with their 7th round of the draft. This concludes the draft for the Saints who are out of picks. The Saints have entertained veteran quarterbacks in free agency, and there's still a good chance they'll sign one, but right now Canfield will compete with Chase Daniel for the backup spot to Drew Brees. Those two youngsters have a pretty good player to learn from. Canfield has nice size at 6'4", and here's his write up per

Strengths: "Canfield is tall with adequate bulk. Possesses a quick release and is a bit of a lefty dart thrower who fits the ball into tight spaces on underneath routes. Does his homework, understands coverage and makes good pre-snap reads. High-character kid who was very productive as a senior."

Weaknesses: "Lacks adequate arm strength and will be unable to make all the throws at the next level. Does not have the speed or athleticism to evade more athletic pass rushers and is not a threat to pick up yards on the ground. Struggles to make good decisions when things break down."

Saints Nation: Saints Select Center Matt Tennant of Boston College in 5th Round

The Saints have drafted their second offensive lineman in the draft. Matt Tennant of Boston College will give the Saints interior depth. They still have one pick remaining in the 7th round to go. I would have preferred a running back or a linebacker here, can't say I love it... But you have to go value this deep into the draft and pick the best player available. Tennant carried a 3rd/4th round grade and was rated the second best center in the draft.

Per, these are his strengths and weaknesses:

Strengths: "Tennant possesses a nice blend of size and athleticism. Displays impressive initial quickness and agility to reach his blocks at the second level. Is a real technician with great field awareness. Exhibits good hand use and gets his arms extended and locked. Body control and balance are also impressive."

Weaknesses: "Has a good frame but lacks good bulk for the position. Does not possess the power to consistently deal with the bull rush when pass blocking or blow interior lineman off the ball in the running game. Is not a great knee bender."

Saints Nation: Saints Trade Up and Select LSU DT Al Woods in 4th Round

I was actually calling for this pick in the 3rd round, so I was glad to see the Saints were able to still land Al Woods in the 4th round. I think this is their best pick of the draft. They needed a solid interior run defender and that's exactly what they got. Woods will definitely get reps on 1st and 2nd down running plays if he can stay healthy, along with Remi Ayodele and Sedrick Ellis. They did have to trade their spot in the 4th round and their 5th round pick to get him, but none the less I think this is a terrific move. Of course you also have to love the homer pick as many fans are already familiar with this player.

Below are his strengths and weaknesses, per

Strengths: "Tall and bulky with a wide base and good balance. Uses big strong hands to get inside and stifle blockers. He is difficult to move, eats up blockers, and clogs up running lanes. Has the strength to be a good bull rusher and collapse the pocket."

Weaknesses: "Lacks initial quickness and is not fast enough to track down ball carriers. Does not always play with good leverage and his pad level is high at times. Needs to improve his pass rush moves and overall technique. Carries too much body weight and struggles with his endurance. There are questions about his work ethic and maturity."

Friday, April 23, 2010

Saints Nation: Saints Pick Tight End Jimmy Graham 95th Overall in 3rd Round

I knew the Saints would get a good young tight end at some point in the draft, and sure enough they took Miami Tight End Jimmy Graham. Graham joins Shockey as another Hurricane tight end on the team. I'm a little surprised that the Saints had Graham listed ahead of Florida Tight End Aaron Hernandez on their board, as Hernandez was still available, but this is a pick I like a tremendous deal. Shockey has struggled the stay healthy the last 3 to 4 seasons, and the Saints need a young promising player to groom behind him. Graham will battle with David Thomas for time as the number two tight end on the team. Graham was also a solid player for the Miami basketball team and is considered a tremendous athlete. Second coming of Antonio Gates?

Below are his strengths and weaknesses, per

Strengths: "Graham has an outstanding combination of size and speed for the tight end position. A former basketball player, he shows impressive natural athleticism on the gridiron. Despite limited experience, he has capable hands to make a play in traffic. High-character guy. Possesses tremendous potential."

Weaknesses: "Graham lacks game experience with only one year of football under his belt. At this time, work ethic as a pure football player needs to improve. His toughness is in question as he still carries the basketball player label. Blocking tenacity and overall technique need polish and refinement"

Saints Nation: Saints Pick Charles Brown 64th Overall in 2nd Round

Charles Brown is the newest selected player to join the Saints. He manned the left offensive tackle position for the USC Trojans this past season. Brown was rated as the best player available on most expert's boards, so the Saints likely went with the best player available. With Jammal Brown, Jermon Bushrod, Jonathan Stinchcomb and Zach Strief all currently under team control, I think this makes a Jammal Brown trade even more likely.

Below are his strengths and weaknesses, per

Strengths: "Brown has good height and adequate frame. Has long arms and an effective punch to get inside defenders. He is athletic with a quick first step and lateral agility. Bends knees well to gain leverage. Played in a pro scheme and has good instincts for the game."

Weaknesses: "Does not have the necessary bulk and will need to gain weight. Can lunge at defenders and does not have a strong initial surge. Does not play with a mean streak and is inconsistent finishing off blocks."

Saints Nation: Is the Writing on the Wall for Darren Sharper?

I couldn't help but think last night when the Saints selected cornerback Patrick Robinson that it meant, by association, that Darren Sharper isn't coming back to the team. The more I think about it, it's time to come to terms with the writing that's on the wall. Darren Sharper isn't coming back, and Patrick Robinson was drafted to replace Malcolm Jenkins as a backup cornerback. Jenkins, in turn, will be moved to free safety and take over for Sharper. That's not anything the Saints front office are coming out and saying, it's just a gut feeling on my part. We all saw how Jenkins played in the SuperBowl. The guy is ready to start at the NFL level, especially at free safety where his lack of speed is less of an issue, and his nose for the ball is more pronounced.

Sharper has already said that the Saints haven't shown him "enough love". Mickey Loomis countered that he had all the love in the world for Darren Sharper, just not "all the money in the world". What that tells me is the Saints offered a contract, and Sharper didn't like the terms. Since then, there's been no action and Sharper has visited with other teams trying to find a suitable offer. Sharper has made it clear he's looking for the highest bidder out there. The Saints have made it clear as of yesterday that they're ready to move on without him.

I won't go as far as to say this case is closed. After all, Sharper is probably 2 or 3 years away from retiring, and I could still see him back with the Saints if nothing else works out. At that point, Robinson would start further down the depth chart and Jenkins' move to free safety could be delayed. I don't think it's impossible Sharper will be back if he doesn't get an offer he's happy with elsewhere and he comes to terms with sucking it up and taking a lower offer.

At the end of the day, though, where there's smoke there's usually fire. If you're adding up one and one, then two says Sharper is pretty much gone. Think about it, he's still out there looking for the best contract... the Saints drafted a defensive back in the first round and appear ready to move on. He doesn't think the Saints are showing enough love... He thinks the Jets are a free safety away from being a SuperBowl contender... yadda yadda. It all adds up to him not being back in a Saints uniform. I hate to say it because he was the defensive MVP last year for the Saints and maybe the league, but I think it's time we call a spade a spade. The writing is on the wall.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Saints Nation: Saints Pick Patrick Robinson 32nd Overall

The 1st round is finally in the books and the Saints have made their pick. Please welcome as the newest member of the New Orleans Saints, Patrick Robinson of Florida State. With Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter entrenched as the starters at corner, it's a bit of a head scratcher... but Marshall Faulk made the good point on NFL Network that the Saints had to sign Mike McKenzie and Chris McAlister off the street last year, so depth is important. I wonder if this means Malcolm Jenkins is going to be the starter at free safety, and Darren Sharper won't be re-signed? Don't forget Randall Gay is in the mix at cornerback as well. I liked Brian Price with that pick, but there's lots of draft left.

Below are his strengths and weaknesses, per

Strengths: "Robinson possesses the ideal size and straight line speed coveted in today’s starting corners. He anticipates break points well and jumps routes. Robinson’s a competitive defender with great ball skills, who was not tested often later in his college career. He’s a special team’s contributor, which will allow him to see the field immediately."

Weaknesses: "Only has average play speed for the position and doesn’t have as much closing burst and quickness when transitioning as you’d like to see. There are some durability questions as he dealt with multiple injuries in college. Only an average technician who would benefit from some coaching up at the next level."

Saints Nation: Brees On Cover of Madden 11

Drew Brees will grace the cover of Madden 11 (confirmation HERE). There's been lots of rumors about it but now it's official. Let's just hope and pray that he can avoid the jinx.

Saints Nation Fans Have Spoken: Saints Should Draft a Linebacker With 1st Pick

With Scott Fujita leaving the Saints' defense by signing with the Cleveland Browns this offseason, Saints Nation poll voters want to see his replacement drafted in the 1st round. With the 1st round scheduled to take place tonight at 7pm EST, 45% of you want to see the Saints take a linebacker with the 32nd choice. 25% of you want a defensive end, and 20% of you want a defensive tackle. It looks like regardless of who the Saints pick, we're all in agreement that it should be a front 7 player.

Thank you for your participation in the Saints Nation Poll, and please vote in the new poll on the right side: which first round selection in the Sean Payton era has been the best pick?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Saints Nation: Saints' 2010 Schedule Released

So here's the schedule for the 2010 Season:

9/9 (League Opener) vs. Minnesota
9/20 (MNF) @ San Francisco
9/26 vs. Atlanta
10/3 vs. Carolina
10/10 @ Arizona
10/17 @ Tampa
10/24 vs. Cleveland
10/31 (Night) vs. Pittsburgh
11/7 @ Carolina
11/14 BYE
11/21 vs. Seattle
11/25 (Thanksgiving) @ Dallas
12/5 @ Cincinnati
12/12 vs. Rams
12/19 @ Baltimore
12/27 (MNF) @ Atlanta
1/2 vs. Tampa Bay

My thoughts: I'm not going to spend any time talking about how good the teams the Saints face are, or how many road games they have against playoff teams. Bottom line: 2010 is not 2009. One quaterback injury, or one slump is all it takes to transform a great team into a mediocre team, or a mediocre team into a horrendous team. So are we supposed to know how good the Bengals will be on December 12th? We don't.

I'll tell you you what I don't like:

1. Going to Cincinnati on December 12th. That's a cold game I do not look forward to the Saints dealing with. Too bad @ Arizona couldn't be a December game instead.

2. Going to the West Coast for road games twice. Once we'll have 6 days to play at home afterward, and the next time we have to travel again 7 days later. No favors from the schedule makers for the defending champs.

3. Going to Dallas 4 days after hosting Seattle.I want to win that game too badly to not have enough preparation.

4. 4 of the last 6 games are on the road. Hopefully we're not too desperate to win all of these games.

5. I'm making a trip back to New Orleans on 11/14 for a wedding, and sure enough that's a bye week. Ugh.

What I do like:

1. 5 nationally covered games. A team record. Networks want to show the Saints? Weird but awesome.

2. The team's first Thanskgiving day game in history! Against the Cowboys none the less. My favorite holiday just got a little better.

3. Not only do the Saints open the season, they get 11 days off after that. That's almost like a bye week!

4. Cleveland plays the Saints in the Dome. I can't wait to hand Jake Delhomme his second straight loss in the dome. I can't stand that guy.

5. Saints-Vikings rematch. I hope they'll be ready, cause the DOME will be!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Saints Nation: Saints to Host Vikings to Kick Off 2010 NFL Season

It's official: The Saints will host the Vikings on Thursday, September 9th in the Superdome to kick off the 2010 NFL season. This game will be a rematch of the 2010 NFC Championship game that went to overtime and eventually sent the Saints to their first SuperBowl trip. The matchup had been rumored for months and expected by many, so it's hardly a surprise, but now it's confirmed. You can check out confirmation on HERE.

Gee, I wonder if Brett Favre will be coming back for this one...

Saints Nation: Courtney Roby, Marvin Mitchell and Usama Young Sign Contract Tenders

Courtney Roby, Marvin Mitchell and Usama Young have all signed their 1 year restricted free agent contract tenders. You can read confirmation HERE.

Only Jahri Evans, Jammal Brown, Pierre Thomas, Lance Moore and Roman Harper remain unsigned from the Saints' restricted free agent pool. Word has it they're working on long term extensions with all of those players listed with the possible exception of Brown who may be traded.

Saints Nation; Saints Sign Defensive End Jimmy Wilkerson

In an effort to continue to improve their pass rush, the Saints have snatched free agent Jimmy Wilkerson away from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Wilkerson ended last year with 6 sacks.


"Tue, 20 Apr 2010 08:32:26 -0400
Stephen Holder, of the St. Petersburg Times, reports via Twitter the New Orleans Saints have signed free-agent DL Jimmy Wilkerson (Buccaneers) to a one-year deal worth $2 million."

Considering the pickup of Alex Brown, this is a bit surprising. I wonder if Bobby McCray is on his way out? This also makes it more likely in my mind that the Saints will either go defensive tackle or linebacker with their first pick. 

Saints Nation: Jammal Brown On His Way Out?

NFL Network's Jason La Canfora has reported that Jammal Brown has been placed on the trading block. One issue in trading Brown is that he's yet to sign his restricted free agent tender, so technically he's not a member of the Saints. Brown has made it clear during the offseason that he's intent on getting a long term deal. He is currently skipping voluntary team workouts as his agent attempts to get him a more lucrative deal than the one year tender. While Brown is not under contract, the restricted free agency period has ended, which means he cannot sign with another team anymore and the Saints have exclusive negotiating rights.

Brown seems intent on refusing to sign his one year tender, which means the Saints would either need to sign him to a long term extension before trading him, or the team that's trading for him would have to agree to a long term deal with Brown prior to agreeing to ship a draft pick over to the Saints. It's a little more complicated than just straight up trading him.

The news makes sense based on the emergence of both Jermon Bushrod and Zach Strief who are both more than capable backups. Jon Stinchcomb anchors the right tackle spot and earned a pro bowl invite last year. Jammal Brown is 30 and he wants a long term extension, so given his age and injury history I can see why the Saints don't want to make the investment. That said, I can't see the Saints getting much in return for Brown. While premiere left tackles are very few and far between, the Saints are handcuffed by the current financial situation. If a team is willing to give Brown a huge contract, they're not going to want to give up much on top of that. I don't see the Saints getting a very high draft pick for him, maybe a 5th round pick tops.

In the end this makes me a little nervous, because I'm not 100% sold on Jermon Bushrod. If Brown gets shipped out, I'd like to Saints take a tackle in the 4th round or so to at least give Bushrod and Strief some competition. Both players are great role players, but they've yet to prove they can perform steadily and consistently at left tackle. There were times when Bushrod was a liability out there, and times were he was a pleasant surprise. Strief is a mammoth in size and a classic overachiever, but is he the answer for 16 games at left tackle? It seems like Bushrod is ahead of him in the pecking order, and the Saints seem to think Strief is best suited for right tackle. The problem there is Stinchcomb has that starting spot on lock-down. To be continued...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Saints Nation: Awesome Raffle Opportunity Offered by the Heath Evans Foundation

The Heath Evans Foundation is at it again. This once in a lifetime raffle is offering 3 amazing prizes, including sideline passes to the Saints' 2010 season opener and Heath Evans' vehicle. Go HERE to purchase tickets or read more information on the raffle.

Make sure you participate as the proceeds go to a terrific cause and the prizes are AWESOME. Below are the possible prizes you can win:

  • First Winner will have his or her choice of the following prize packages, Second Winner will have his or her choice of the remaining two prize packages, and the Third Winner will receive the remaining prize package.
  • Prize Package 1: (View Vehicle)
    • Winner will receive Heath Evans' Fully Loaded 2008 Limited Edition H2 Hummer autographed by the Super Bowl Saints 11 starting offensive players including Drew Brees, Reggie Bush, and Pierre Thomas, delivered to the Winner's doorstep by Heath Evans and Reggie Bush (Vehicle includes custom 22 inch wheels, custom hydraulic side step, custom exhaust, and many other factory installed options; mileage on vehicle is 22,000 miles) Delivery limited to locations within 50 mile radius of the Louisiana Superdome. In the event Winner is outside the 50 mile radius limit, the Winner will receive a $500 allowance to mitigate the cost of delivering the vehicle.
    • Winner will receive a $2,500 allowance to mitigate sales tax, title, and registration costs.
    • Winner will receive a cash prize in the amount of $20,500 to mitigate the Winner's tax liability that results from winning the raffle. This prize is withheld and paid, on behalf of the Winner, directly to the IRS ($17,000) and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts ($3,500)
    • Total Prize Package Value is $68,000
  • Prize Package 2:
    • Winner will be the Saints Honorary Team Manager at the 2010 Heath Evans Softball Showdown at Zephyr Field in Metairie LA and join the Saints players in the dugout, coach first or third base, and assist with the lineup.
    • Winner will receive a Saints jersey to wear during the game and have autographed by the players.
    • Winner and 3 guests will enjoy VIP Access to all Softball Showdown related events including the Saints Autograph session.
    • Winner and guests will receive VIP Parking Access
    • Winner will receive 3 tickets, near the Saints dugout, to the Softball Showdown
    • Winner will receive a cash prize in the amount of $68.05 to mitigate the Winner's tax liability that results from winning the raffle. This prize is withheld and paid, on behalf of the Winner, directly to the IRS ($56.25) and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts ($11.80)
    • Total Prize Package Value is $225
  • Prize Package 3:
    • Winner and guest will enjoy two club level seats to the New Orleans Saints opening game at the Louisiana Super Dome (Opponent and date to be determined)
    • Winner and guest will enjoy two pre-game field passes
    • Winner will receive a parking pass for the game
    • Winner will receive a $100 allowance for food and other expenses
    • Winner and 3 guests will enjoy lunch or dinner with Heath Evans at the New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood Company.
    • Winner will receive a cash prize in the amount of $307.50 to mitigate the Winner's tax liability that results from winning the raffle. This prize is withheld and paid, on behalf of the Winner, directly to the IRS ($250) and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts ($57.50)
    • Total Prize Package Value is $1,000

Saints Nation: NFL Schedule to come out Tomorrow? (take 2)

Back on March 22nd, I reported the NFL schedule would be out the following day. Almost a month later, here we are on April 19th and we still have no schedule to show for it. Thanks a lot, NFL. I'm reporting for the second time in two months that "the NFL schedule will be out tomorrow". Hopefully I'm not lying this time.

Apparently, part of the reason for the massive delay was Donovan McNabb going to the Redskins. The moved transformed the Eagles-Redskins into a prime time must matchup, and the NFL was committed to reworking the schedule to accommodate showing that rivalry game to a nationwide audience.

With the NFL draft slated to happen starting Thursday night, we're in for a big week of news!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Saints Nation: Recent 32nd Pick History

Over the last 10 years, the 32nd pick overall pick has had mixed success. One player that was picked 32nd overall is a guy you might have heard of: Drew Brees of Purdue. But over the last ten years, Brees is the only 32nd pick overall you can characterize as a superstar.

Here's the 32nd pick overall for the past 10 years.

2009: Steelers - Evander Hood DT - Finished his first season with just 8 tackles and one sack.
2008: Dolphins - Phillip Merling DE (only 31 picks in 1st round because of Patriots) - Posted 1 sack his rookie season and 2.5 sacks last year. Nothing special.
2007: Colts - Anthony Gonzalez WR - Contributed over 500 yards receiving in each of his first two seasons. Was out for 2009 with an injury.
2006: Giants - Mathias Kiwanuka DE - 19.5 sacks in 4 seasons with a career high 8 sacks in 2008. Decent contributor.
2005: Patriots - Logan Mankins G - Still a starter on the Patriots' offensive line, and a two time pro bowler. Has played all 16 games for the Patriots for 5 straight season.
2004: Patriots - Ben Watson TE - Solid role player and starting tight end. Just left Patriots after 6 seasons to sign with Cleveland Browns. Has scored 20 career touchdowns.
2003: Raiders - Tyler Brayton DE - Decent veteran role player that had the most success in the past two seasons with the Panthers. Had a career high 5 sacks last season.
2002: Redskins - Patrick Ramsey QB - A former Tulane superstar was a disappointment as the Redskins' starter. Has been a career backup ever since 2004. Has 35 touchdown passes and 30 interceptions in his career.
2001: Chargers - Drew Brees QB (only 31 picks in 1st round) - No introduction needed.
2000: Browns - Dennis Northcutt WR (only 31 picks in 1st round) - Durable slot receiver that's had a good career. He's contributed in to teams in each season he's played, both on offense and special teams.

As you look through these players, I'd say that Mankins and Brees are the only two players I'd consider a homerun. I wouldn't say that any of these guys are complete busts, either, but the jury is still out on Hood and Merling. Ramsey is probably the weakest pick of the bunch, and he's still managed to stay around the league since 2002 as a backup. Ironically the Saints brought Ramsey in for a workout earlier this offseason. Moral of the story? Don't expect a superstar, but recent history suggests there's a good chance the Saints can land someone serviceable.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Saints Nation: If Sean Weatherspoon is Available at #32, Saints May Take Him

Most fans are calling, if not pleading, for the Saints to take weakside linebacker out of Missouri Sean Weatherspoon at the 32nd pick overall. Weatherspoon is a very promising young talent that many experts view as a can't miss player at the pro level. In fact, most experts have him going well before that 32nd pick comes to the Saints. It's been talked about enough, though, that it's worth mentioning here. It's safe to say that it's very likely that Sean Weatherspoon is high on the Saints' draft board, and if he's available at #32 there's almost no way they'll pass on him. He would represent an immediate replacement for departed linebacker Scott Fujita, and potentially an immediate upgrade.

He's listed at 6'1" and 239 lbs and here's what the draft write up has to say about him:

Overall: "Weatherspoon is an excellent combination of size, strength and athleticism for the position. He is a tough hard-nosed linebacker that plays with a great motor. Weatherspoon is a solid tackler but not a thumper in this area. He runs well and shows good range in pursuit as well as in coverage. Weatherspoon leverages the ball well with good angles and proper body positioning. He uses his hands well to ward off blockers and maintain gap responsibility. Weatherspoon is an intelligent linebacker that possesses great intangibles that along with physical attributes which should make him a productive player as a rookie."

Strengths: "Weatherspoon’s a highly-productive linebacker. He possesses a great combination of size, strength and athleticism. Displays very good range against the run and dropping in coverage. Plays with good intelligence and has proven to be an outstanding leader. Has displayed the toughness to play through injuries. Durable performer in college."

Weaknesses: "Weatherspoon can be an inconsistent reactor at times. Despite his intelligence, he takes too many false steps and is often a step too slow. Won’t get away with this as a starter at the next level. Needs to expand his blitz techniques in order to provide more value on third down"

If Weatherspoon is available, I agree that the Saints should take him and I believe he would start immediately in Fujita's place at weakside linebacker and perform well. As I mentioned yesterday, though, the Saints have a lot of faith in Jo-Lonn Dunbar, and he could be the man to fill the Fujita void. Ultimately, I have the Saints taking DT Brian Price of UCLA in my mock draft at 32nd overall, because I believe Weatherspoon will be taken at 26 by the Cardinals.We shall see soon enough how it all plays out!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Saints Nation: Is Jo-Lonn Dunbar the Man to Replace Fujita?

Unless the Saints draft someone early in the first round at linebacker, which is admittedly what most experts see them doing, young linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar seems most likely to get the first crack at replacing Scott Fujita in the starting lineup. The Saints also have last year's rookies Jonathan Casillas and Stanley Arnoux in the mix, and either could potentially make a case for increased playing time as well. Still, while Casillas showed some promise last year he's very raw as an undrafted rookie a year ago; and while the Saints invested a high pick in Arnoux, he spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve. That leaves Dunbar as the most viable candidate, currently, to earn a starting spot alongside Scott Shanle and Jonathan Vilma in the Saints' linebacking core. Dunbar played 15 games in his rookie season (2 starts) and 9 games last year (3 starts) before he was placed on injured reserve with hamstring problems. Still, in his starts he's shown some promise.

Let's take a look back at the player rating write ups I did for him last season:

AT DOLPHINS: Jo-Lonn Dunbar: C+ Dunbar was subbed in often for Evans in the second half and did some nice things, especially in pass coverage. On Ronnie Brown's pass to Fasano he laid a nice hit to make sure the ball fell incomplete once Fasano bobbled it. He had 2 tackles as well, and I'm thinking he might be a better option than Evans if Fujita needs to miss another game. Ultimately Dunbar didn't play enough or do enough to earn a better grade.

VS. FALCONS: Jo-Lonn Dunbar: B- Dunbar was great at times, and mediocre at others. He was extremely aggressive against the run and very active. Sometimes it got him in trouble, and other times he made good plays. He finished with 4 tackles. If Fujita misses another game, I think I prefer Dunbar over Evans at linebacker. He may make some mistakes due to lack of experience, but his hustle and fierce effort is refreshing. Evans may contain better, but he just doesn't have the athleticism or skill of Dunbar.

VS. PANTHERS: Jo-Lonn Dunbar: B+ Do we even let Fujita start when he's healthy? Seriously, this young linebacker is just getting better and better! Dunbar is terrific against the run, and VERY physical. The only drawback is he's very aggressive so he sometimes contains poorly and lacks discipline. Those are things, by the way, what Fujita excels at. He had 8 tackles and played a very good game. I'm glad the Saints decided Dunbar was a better option than Troy Evans. Physically there is just a huge difference between the two. I think Dunbar could be a viable starter for the Saints in the future.

AT BUCCANEERS: Jo-Lonn Dunbar: C+ Dunbar finished with 3 tackles and played in spot duty late in the game at linebacker. He was aggressive and did ok. He over-pursued twice but with the game so far out of reach it's hard to grade him. I'll give him some love for doing a great job on special teams, though.

The write ups make it pretty clear I like him better than Troy Evans, I guess, right? The common denominator in all of these was that Dunbar was fast, had a high motor, and a boatload of aggression. All very positive things you want out of a promising young outside linebacker. His drawbacks are that he lacks good containment and he over-pursues plays because he's so aggressive. I believe those are things Gregg Williams can perfect. So while many of you are calling for a linebacker to be picked 32nd overall, don't be surprised if the Saints go in a different direction and put their faith in the promise of Jo-Lonn Dunbar.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Saints Nation: Usama Young Signs Back with Saints

Special teams stud and recently converted safety Usama Young is now back for another year in New Orleans, too. Young is probably penciled in as the starting free safety going into mini-camps; at least for the time being until the Darren Sharper situation gets figured out. You can read the story HERE, and his deal is worth $1.1 million for one year.

Welcome back Usama!

Saints Nation: Safety Chris Reis Re-Signs with Saints

Backup safety and special teams ace Chris Reis is the next Saint to ink his restricted free agent tender. His deal is for one year and it's worth $1.1 million. Confirmation of this signing can be seen HERE. Reis was the man who recovered the infamous onsides kick in the SuperBowl. Welcome back #39!

Restricted free agents have until midnight tomorrow to sign a contract with another team, otherwise they can no longer do so and are limited to the one year tender extended by the Saints. Expect a lot of the RFA's to sign today and tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Saints Nation: Remi Ayodele and Jermon Bushrod Sign Their Tenders, Too

Thanks to this story on we've learned that Remi Ayodele and Jermon Bushrod have both signed their 1 year restricted free agent tenders, and they are now on board for the 2010 version of the Saints. Both were surprise starters for the Saints going into the SuperBowl at defensive tackle and left tackle, respectively. Both stepped in and performed well in spot duty as starters, though their starting spot for 2010 is anything but assured. At the very least they provide solid depth, though.

Also being reported, for what it's worth, is that Jammal Brown is skipping the offseason workout program as he attempts to negotiate a long term contract. He has yet to sign his restricted free agent tender, so it's possible the Saints could elect to trade him. It's possible he's eventually signed, but I don't really expect the Saints to invest in him long term based on his injury history. With the emergence of Zach Strief and Jermon Bushrod last year, too, I think this potentially makes Jammal Brown expendable. Don't be shocked if he's used in a draft day trade.

Saints Nation: Tight End David Thomas Signs Tender, Back on Board

David Thomas is the most recent Saints to sign his restricted free agent tender. He's back on board for another year. Click HERE for the story on

While it's no surprise he's back, Thomas proved to be an extremely valuable backup for the Saints. Not only was he the primary tight end when Shockey was out, he was the primary fullback when Heath Evans was out. I have a feeling he'll catch a pass or two next season...

Saints Nation: Saints' Restricted Free Agent Status

Below is the current status of the Saints' Restricted free agents this offseason. All "unsigned" players have been tendered a one year contract, but have yet to sign it. They have until just before the draft to sign, or accept an offer sheet from another team. The latter is unlikely in most cases because the compensation would be too high for another team to go for them.


64 Strief, Zach T 6-7 320265 Northwestern

69 Hargrove, Anthony DT 6-3 272266 Georgia Tech

97 Charleston, Jeff DE 6-4 265274 Idaho State


92 Ayodele, Remi DT 6-2 318264 Oklahoma
70 Brown, Jammal T 6-6 313296 Oklahoma
74 Bushrod, Jermon T 6-5 315254 Towson
73 Evans, Jahri G 6-4 318265 Bloomsburg
41 Harper, Roman S 6-1 200275 Alabama
50 Mitchell, Marvin LB 6-3 249254 Tennessee
16 Moore, Lance WR 5-9 190265 Toledo
39 Reis, Chris S 6-1 215264 Georgia Tech
15 Roby, Courtney WR 6-0 189275 Indiana
85 Thomas, David TE 6-3 248265 Texas
23 Thomas, Pierre RB 5-11 215254 Illinois
28 Young, Usama S 6-0 200244 Kent State


Mike Bell RB (to Eagles)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Saints Nation: Zach Strief Re-signs with Saints

Zach Strief inked his restricted free agent contract with the Saints today. You can read confirmation on the story HERE. The deal is good for one year at $1.75 million. Some of you will remember the interview I had with Strief earlier this year that can be read HERE. He's on of the real quality "good guys" on the team, and adds a great dimension of character to the squad.

Strief is a very valuable backup and role player on the team that in my opinion has proven that he'd be good enough to start if given the opportunity. Hopefully he'll get his chance at some point this year. Until then, it's great to see him back. Welcome back to the team #64!

Saints Nation: Thanks to Garrett Hartley, We Can Stop Missing John Carney

Almost exactly a year ago, I wondered when it might be that we can stop missing John Carney. It turns out that time is now, but the 2009 season brought us some unexpected turns.

First, after a promising end to the 2008 campaign, Hartley failed a drug test that landed him on suspension for the first four games of the season. That opened the door for the Saints to bring back an available John Carney. Carney was a little shaky in this stint with the Saints, but he was good enough to remain the starting kicker well after Hartley's suspension was over with. After 11 games, with Carney going 13 for 17 (with 2 missed extra points), Hartley got his chance. Hartley did go 9 for 11, but he also missed an extra point, and one of his misses was a game winner against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that ended up costing the Saints the game. Hartley completely transformed his fortunes once the postseason began, though. He nailed his lone kick against the Cardinals from 43 yards in game one. In the NFC Championship, he hit a 40 yard game winning overtime boot that sent the Saints to the SuperBowl. In the SuperBowl, he went 3 for 3 hitting kicks that were all longer than 40 yards away. His clutch kicking has given the Saints a reliable and trustworthy kicker for the first time since John Carney. With Hartley's young age and leg strength, evidence suggests he'll probably be around for a long time too.

So I'm going to come out and say it: we can finally stop missing John Carney. The fact that we brought him back to give Hartley competition made the changing of the guard all the more special. Carney was retained as the "kicking game coordinator" too, so while he wasn't out there helping the Saints on the field, he was on the sidelines giving his wealth of experience and knowledge to Hartley. How perfect. It's been a stressful few years anytime we needed a field goal, but we've finally got ourselves a kicker we can trust and have promise in.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Saints Nation: Saints Looking At Free Agents as they Gear Up for Draft

Confirmed visits from quarterbacks Patrick Ramsey (pictured from his Tulane days) and Josh McCown as well defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson have either happened or will happen as the Saints prepare for the draft. I think it's clear the Saints are looking to address the backup quarterback and passing rushing needs through free agency, which means they'll use the draft for other positions. It's surprised me that they're looking at Wilkerson despite the fact that they recently added Alex Brown. Could Bobby McCray be on his way out? I remain firm in my belief that the Saints will use their first round pick to go with a defensive tackle.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Saints Nation: Saints Nation's NFL Mock Draft 2010 (part 2)

17. San Francisco 49ers: Earl Thomas, S, Texas
The 49ers already addressed their offensive line need earlier in the draft taking Trent Williams, so my pick here is Earl Thomas. He'll help the backend of the 49ers' secondary.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Iupati, G, Idaho
Here's the question facing the Steelers as they look to make their first round selection: Do they improve protection for Big Ben by adding a ready-to-start lineman to the mix? Or do they start the youth movement on their aging defense? While the defense is old, as long as Troy Polamalu can stay healthy (which is no given) it's safe to say the Steelers' defensive production can be steady. They'll go with the best offensive lineman available to keep Ben Roethlisberger clean on the field.

19. Atlanta Falcons: Brandon Graham, OLB, Michigan
The Falcons are a nonexistent pass rush last year, and Graham has the versatility to rush as an end on passing downs while also playing outside linebacker.

20. Houston Texans: Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama
With Dunta Robinson gone and an already shaky secondary, the Texans are desperate to address their needs on the backend. The offense looks promising, so while they consider Ryan Mathews here, they just can't pass up on a defensive back.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Taylor Mays, S, USC
Everyone has the Bengals taking Mays here, so I'm jumping on the bandwagon. His 40 time at the combine was pretty impressive, and while his senior season was shaky, the Bengals need that kind of freakish talent to turn around their defense.

22. New England Patriots: Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
Chris Baker? Gone. Ben Watson? Gone. Wes Welker? A stretch to make it back in time 100% healthy for the beginning of the season. The Pats need a reliable target underneath to take advantage of Randy Moss spreading the field.

23. Green Bay Packers: Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland
Aaron Rodgers was sacked 50 times last year. Everyone and their mother knows that the Packer's line is in complete shambles.  Campbell is a mammoth at 6'7" and he may give Rodgers an extra second to get rid of the ball. He also represents tremendous value this deep into the 1st round.

24. Philadelphia Eagles: Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
The Kevin Kolb era is officially underway, but it'll start without Brian Westbrook. While McCoy is a good back, it's not safe to assume he can carry the every down load. Ryan Mathews makes a lot of sense here because he's the best remaining back in the draft.  That said, Sheldon Brown is gone and they need someone to start in his place immediately.

25. Baltimore Ravens: Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida
The Ravens addressed their major need at receiver by adding Donte' Stallworth and Anquan Boldin, which means they'll take the best player available. Pouncey will start at guard with Matt Birk still on the team, but will likely be the Ravens' center of the future.

26. Arizona Cardinals: Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri
Karlos Dansby is gone, and that loss hurts the Cardinals very badly. They need a young player that can help immediately and cushion the blow. Weatherspoon is a very promising player.

27. Dallas Cowboys: Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
Flozell is chopped liver and the Cowboys need someone who can hold a block for a long time, considering how much Tony Romo loves to run around in the pocket. Davis is the Cowboys' tackle of the future.

28. San Diego Chargers: Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State
The Chargers finally parted ways with LaDainian Tomlinson, and they also thought long and hard about letting go of Darren Sproles. While Sproles remains for now, the Chargers' offseason behavior made it clear they are anything but sold on him. Let's face it, he's tiny and nothing more than a dangerous situational role player. The Chargers are ecstatic Mathews falls to them, and they don't think twice about drafting them as their new load carrier.

29. New York Jets: Demayrius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech
Simply put, Mark Sanchez needs help in the form of playmakers if he's ever going to progress. Just what the doctor ordered.

30. Minnesota Vikings: Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
The Vikings don't have many holes as they wait for Brett Favre to make a decision at quarterback. Devin McCourty is the best player available, so they upgrade their secondary.

31. Indianapolis Colts: Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State
The Colts need to shore up their run defense in a big way. Odrick gives them size and agility inside, and it's a pleasant surprise to them that he's still available at this point.

32. New Orleans Saints: Brian Price, DT, UCLA (pictured)
So there it is Saints fans, my prediction for the 1st round pick of our team in 2010. With the Alex Brown signing, the positions I think the Saints are most likely to consider with a 1st round pick are defensive tackle, outside linebacker, free safety (if Sharper doesn't re-sign) and tight end. In my opinion, the players that fit that profile the most are Brian Price (DT) of UCLA, Aaron Gonzalez (TE) of Florida, Jerry Hughes (DL/LB) of TCU and Sergio Kindle (DL/LB) of Texas, and Chad Jones (S) of LSU. Kindle and Hughes aren't ready to make an impact at linebacker based on their diminutive size, so while they'd be terrific as situational pass rushers, I think the Saints will prefer a defensive player that can help them on running downs. Chad Jones is too raw, and while Aaron Gonzalez could easily be the pick... but in the end, I think Brian Price is that player, and the Saints will match him alongside Sedrick Ellis to shore up their defensive line and give them a promising young core up front. More information on Price can be found HERE. If he falls this low, I can't see the Saints passing on him because his is a well rounded NFL ready starting prospect. The Saints just got a lot better against the run.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Saints Nation: Saints Nation's NFL Mock Draft 2010

Below is my NFL 2010 Mock Draft, picks 1-16. I'll reveal picks 17-32 in my second installment, including the Saints' pick at #32. Keep in mind these all assume no trades take place.

1. St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
With Marc Bulger and Kyle Boller now gone, the Rams have A.J. Feeley at quarterback and literally no one else. This is a no brainer and a done deal. No chance in my mind, unless something earth shattering changes, that the Rams pick anyone but Bradford. He will represent the face of the franchise and their quarterback of the future. No pressure, buddy.

2. Detroit Lions: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
Suh is arguably the most can't miss prospect in the entire draft, and the Lions already have their quarterback in Stafford. The Lions have so many holes on their team that they could go in many directions, but ultimately Suh is the best player in the draft and could make an immediate and significant impact on Detroit's run defense. Tough to pass on Russell Okung, though, when the blindside of Matt Stafford is also a priority to protect.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
The Bucs want Suh, but will settle for McCoy if Suh is gone. That's 3 straight players from the Big 12 to start he draft, which is pretty impressive. As an SEC fan it makes me sick to predict this, but I think it'll prove accurate. The Bucs are in full on rebuilding mode after years of success with that vaunted defense. They'll need good young defensive players to get back to their old philosophy of winning, and because they ranked 32nd against the run last year, they need a top prospect that can step in and play well immediately in the trenches.

4. Washington Redskins: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
Yet another Big 12 player... This pick is another no brainer if Okung is still available. He's the best tackle in the draft, by far, and the Redskins will want to protect newly acquired Donovan McNabb. Jason Campbell was running for his life all too often last year and was one of the most sacked QB's in the NFL. McNabb has struggled with injuries from time to time in his career, so they need a reliable player that can keep him safe from hits. Jimmy Clausen was the pick here before McNabb, but not anymore.

5. Kansas City Chiefs: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
Tough spot for the Chiefs to pick in, because Suh, McCoy and Okung are all tops on their board. If they picked 2 through 4, they would take any of those 3 players, but they don't. Like Detroit, the Chiefs have so many holes they could go in many different directions with this pick. Fans will be calling for Safety Eric Berry of Tennessee, but the Chiefs can't afford to see Matt Cassel get pummeled the amount of times he did last year. Their defense is terrible too, though, so don't be shocked if they go in a couple directions with this pick. Ultimately they shore up their o-line, and Bulaga is just barely more promising to them than Trent Williams of Oklahoma.

6. Seattle Seahawks: Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
Berry is the best defensive prospect in the draft and the Seahawks were 30th against the pass last year. Pretty simple.

7. Cleveland Browns: Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
With Delhomme getting a big pay day and the recent trade acquisition of Seneca Wallace, I don't see the Browns investing in a new quarterback again so soon after drafting Brady Quinn and giving up on that project. The bottom line is the Browns were awful defensively all year last year from top to bottom, so they want Eric Berry badly and they're praying he falls to him. Since he's not, though, Morgan improves their struggling pass rush overnight.

8. Oakland Raiders: Joe Haden, CB, Florida
The Raiders are pretty deep with good young safeties, and picking Taylor Mays would make little sense... which is why it's perfect. Don't be surprised if the Raiders go that route. We all know Al Davis is crazy, and we all know he's a sucker for players with freakish ability (despite lack of football playing ability).That said, the Raiders are shopping Nnamdi Asomugha and they are resigned to the fact he'll be gone soon. It's time to groom his replacement, and Haden is the best corner in the draft.

9. Buffalo Bills: Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
The Bills finally have themselves their quarterback of the future, and they feel much better about this pick than the Losman pickup a few years ago. The Bills are thrilled Clausen fell to them, and they don't think twice about taking him.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida
While the Jaguars have some decent pass rushing options, if you're going to compete in a division with Peyton Manning, you have to get sacks. Pierre-Paul will help them in this department.

11. Denver Broncos: Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma St.
If Brandon Marshall leaves via trade, which I think he will, the Broncos will need to groom his replacement. Eddie Royal has shown some potential, but they need to provide their passing game with more options. Bryant is the best receiver in the draft.

12. Miami Dolphins: Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
The Dolphins are desperate to improve their toughness up the middle and their former star Jason Ferguson isn't getting any younger. Williams will form an impressive tandem with Ferguson to shore up the middle of the defensive line.

13. San Francisco 49ers: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
Williams is projected to go much higher, and the 49ers are thrilled that he falls this low. He's the best rated prospect left in the draft, and it just so happens they need a lineman anyway.

14. Seattle Seahawks: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
The Seahawks have already helped their defense by picking Berry 5th overall, and they also have to address their terrible running game which ranked 26th in the league last year. C.J. Spiller is just the ticket to give their offense some much needed explosiveness.

15. New York Giants: Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama
The Giants will take what they consider to be the best player available, and McClain rates highest on their board. He'll be able to compete for a starting spot in his rookie season.

16. Tennessee Titans: Everson Griffen, DE, USC
Like the Jaguars, if they want to compete in a division with Peyton Manning they need to rush the passer. Losing Kyle Vanden Bosch was a back breaker. The Titans are desperate for a player that can get after it, and Griffen represents the best available pass rushing threat.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Saints Nation: Alex Brown Signs with Saints!

The Saints have signed Alex Brown, according to ESPN analyst Adam Schefter's twitter account, to a two year deal. More to come as details come in, but the Saints have Charles Grant's replacement and their first unrestricted free agent signing of the offseason.