AFR: Saints' biggest offseason needs - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

AFR: Saints' biggest offseason needs

Sean Payton acknowledged the Saints must draft better in 2016. (Source: Mark LaGrange) Sean Payton acknowledged the Saints must draft better in 2016. (Source: Mark LaGrange)

Sean Payton alluded to it in his end-of-season press conference that this organization must draft better. Quite frankly, with limited funds available to spend in free agency, they NEED another class with impact.

With that in mind, here are my top four areas of need:

1.) Pass Rusher

Without question, the Saints top priority has to be to add an explosive pass rusher in this year’s draft. Emphasis on explosive. Cam Jordan is coming off his second double-digit season in three years. However, the majority of his sacks come when the quarterback is down to his third or fourth read. His best strength is his versatility against the run and pass. The perfect complement to him would be a disruptive player with a great burst on the opposite side. Think back to 2013 when the Saints had Jordan and a well-behaved Junior Galette. They were fourth in the NFL in sacks that year. No surprise their active front aided their pass defense. They were second in the NFL in that category. If they can truly find this player, their entire defense will grow by leaps and bounds.

2.) Weakside Linebacker

After observing other defenses around the NFL, it has become clear that the best ones have two three-down linebackers that can cover. The Saints look like they have one in the middle in Stephone Anthony, but can certainly add another to play alongside of him. Dannell Ellerbe made an impact in this area last year. However, his injury history and high cap number could force the Saints to move on from him this offseason.

3.) Wide Receiver

Some would argue this is not a position of great need, but I disagree. I love the development of Willie Snead and Brandin Cooks, however Marques Colston may not be back.Brandon Coleman has shown flashes, but to assume he will step right in where Colston leaves off seems risky. Adding another consistent pass-catcher to this offense could certainly help fine-tune an already well-oiled machine offensively.

4.) Defensive Tackle

A full front seven upgrade would be complete if the Saints could land an impact defensive tackle. Kevin Williams had a good season, but at 36 it’s safe to assume he is closer to the end of his career. John Jenkins and Tyeler Davison are both run-stuffing types. This pick would be a disruptive player along the inside. I’ll stick with the 2013 example. Not only did the Saints have Galette and Jordan, they also had Akiem Hicks providing an athletic presence in the middle with four-and-a-half sacks. Like Galette, Hicks eventually flamed out in New Orleans, but if they can find someone similar to his skill set, it would help this defense tremendously.

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