Welcome to the dead period. Short of the Jimmy Graham grievance/contract, the Saints will be pretty silent for the next four weeks.
It makes for the perfect time to break out my top-20 list of Saints players in 2014.
We begin with 20-16.
20.) Brandin Cooks
Cooks is the only rookie on this list and while I'm not too keen on ranking players who've never played a down in the league, I'm inclined to do so with Cooks because the Saints need him to be an instant contributor.
As I've stated before Cooks is a combination of Lance Moore and Darren Sproles but he can also add a separate dimension from either of those with his ability to get upfield as a wide receiver. The expectations are high for Cooks, hopefully he will rise to the occasion.
19.) Thomas Morstead
If there is such a thing as a playmaker at punter, Morstead is it. Morstead had the second lowest number of punts in the NFL last year (which tells you something about the Saints offense) but made the most of them.
Of Morstead's 61 punts, 25 landed inside the twenty-yard line. His 43.9 net average ranked fourth in the league.
While his punting numbers alone are enough to get him on this list, Morstead also is a weapon on kickoffs. His 60% touchback rate on kickoffs ranked seventh in the NFL and is a huge advantage for the Saints defense.
18.) Rafael Bush
Bush is one of the most underrated players on the Saints defense. His deep coverage ability allowed Rob Ryan to use the three/four safety sets last year. The Saints clearly valued Bush's ability as they matched Atlanta's offer sheet to keep him around. While he may not technically be a starter this year, Bush will see the field a lot in Rob Ryan's defense.
17.) Ben Watson
A solid, steady veteran who's filled in admirably this offseason with Jimmy Graham away. Watson does everything well out of the tight end position. His 19 catches for 226 yards and two touchdowns may not seem all that impressive, but he gave the Saints exactly what they needed out of their second tight end position in 2013.
16.) Khiry Robinson
"It makes no difference how they got here, but what they do once they are here."
Words we've often heard from Saints head coach Sean Payton.
There is no greater example of this mentality than running back Khiry Robinson. In Robinson's case, he didn't even have the luxury of getting signed in the few hours after the draft, his route was even harder. Robinson had to catch on through a tryout and then make the team.
But he patiently waited his turn and made the most of it. K-rob ascended to prominence in the playoffs when his physical style gave the Saints an edge they lacked during the regular season.
With likely a full season to be active this year, I think Robinson can be the closer the Saints love to finish games with.
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