NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - It's been more than five years since the Saints won Super Bowl 44. The roster changes every off-season, and there are only five players (Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Jahri Evans, Zach Strief and Thomas Morstead) from that 2009 squad who are still with the franchise. The team is getting younger, and now a new core group of players will join the Black-and-Gold trough the NFL draft.
The Saints have a big opportunity to add impact players and bolster their depth, with 9 overall draft picks, including five in the top 78 selections. Two first-rounders at 13 and 31, a second-rounder at 44, and two third round picks at 75 and 78.
"We want to hit on all nine picks eventually," General Manager Mickey Loomis said. "I think it's unrealistic to expect nine players to come in and start right away their first year; it's probably unrealistic to expect four or five as well. What we want to do is to select good players that we have a vision for that can contribute early hopefully, but that's not the whole story. We are going to have to wait two or three years down the road before we can make a judgment on how we did."
Last year, the Saints made six total selections, but only first-round talent Brandin Cooks produced an impact on the field. Loomis says the Saints absolutely want to maximize their 2015 draft additions, but warns these rookies will need time to find their role.
"What makes it critical is we have five picks in the first three rounds," Loomis said. "So you wanna be successful with that. We need to be successful and pick good players. I think it's unrealistic to expect rookie players to come in and turn team around I think we always have unrealistic expectations of first year players. It takes these guys time to acclimate to NFL, so we shouldn't judge them on what happens this season, we should judge them in their careers over next 2-3 years."
Loomis added that he does not view this off-season as a rebuild for the franchise, but that 7-9 is not good enough, and there is a resolve to do much better.