New Orleans Saints: why drafting an offensive tackle is biggest need

After the Super Bowl, football fans wait for the first sign of the new season- free agency and the NFL draft. The first round of the NFL Draft is May 8th, with big names such as Johnny “Football” Manziel and Jadeveon Clowney. With these two players out of the Saints’ reach, Who Dats are wondering who the new addition to the roster will be.

General Manager Mickey Loomis has been hard at work this offseason in what may be the most active offseason the Saints have seen yet. A lot of this year’s moves have been dedicated to re-vamping the defense, giving Rob Ryan the tools he needs to make the Saints #1 in the league on his side of the ball. With all the players Loomis has released and signed, what are the Saints biggest need going into the Draft?

This year, the New Orleans Saints pick 27th in the draft, which is not a bad spot to be picking. In my last article, I wrote about how the Saints should trade down this draft. I see the Saints possibly acquiring more picks if at #27 the Saints aren’t interested in someone specific.

In this article, I will highlight what I believe are the main needs the Saints should address in this year’s draft. Assuming that the Saints are able to pick up someone in the first round and not trade down, this is how I would like it to play out.

The position first to take care of in my opinion is offensive tackle. Although the Saints re-signed veteran Zach Strief, I still feel like the Saints could use another guy at this position. Last year, Strief failed to make the Pro Bowl, which was a little disappointing. His age and past injuries can be a risky factor for the Saints and having a backup on the roster would be a smart move.

I definitely think Strief could be useful to teach a rookie or young guy the ropes, since he has a lot of experience with the team. I think the Saints could use a younger, faster player in this position. Strief seems to have slowed down and was plagued by injury last season. Hopefully, he can have a better year this season.

Terron Armstead is a very good player. He proved himself last year when Sean Payton pulled Charles Brown from the playbook. I look forward to seeing him develop over the years, but as of now I don’t believe he has enough battle wounds. He is a young player who has a lot to learn. The advantages of bringing in a new offensive tackle is helping Armstead feel a little at ease knowing that he has a backup, yet at the same time someone pushing him for the starting job.

Strief will be a great role model and leader for Armstead, and a new player, if the Saints decide to go this route. I could see this developing into something well worth it for the Saints. I would feel more comfortable if the Saints picked up another offensive tackle to be there for these guys as a safety measure.

Drew Brees was sacked 36 times last season, which is the most he’s been sacked in a single season. I think this shows perfectly what the Saints’ biggest need is – protection for Drew, in the form of a tackle. Like I mentioned in a previous article, I really like the looks of Morgan Moses, standout from Virginia.

In the later rounds the Saints should focus on bringing in a center. With Brian De La Puente no longer around, the Saints need some serious talent to take of the void left.

In my opinion, the Saints should not focus on picking up another wide receiver until the later rounds, unless an amazing player is available at #27. The team is well equipped on the receiving front with guys like Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, Andy Tanner, Kenny Stills, Nick Toon, and newly re-signed Robert Meachem. This is probably the most talented and impressive position on the squad.

Lastly, the Saints need to start thinking about bringing in someone to start training under Drew Brees. Who Dats may hate talking about this subject, but one day Brees will be no longer and the Saints will need someone to fill his gargantuan shoes.

Although they have been busy so far this offseason, the New Orleans Saints organization cannot rest easy yet. There are still many positions to fill and add too before the start of the 2014-2015 season. However, the future is looking brighter with the moves general manager Mickey Loomis has already made.

  • Paul

    She couldn’t be more right! Being a former offensive linemen and watching the starting 5 this year I really think that oline is the biggest need, especially OT. Yea we resigned Zack Strief but he is an average tackle at best and Terron Armsted is prob the most athletic tackle in the game but he is very raw, his run blocking is sub par and needs to be nothing less than perfect in his pass blocking…unfortunately he is not there yet and sorry but I do NOT want that protecting Drew!! People say we need receivers which blows my mind due to the fact that drew brees can make a pro bowl reciever out of anyone!! So it don’t matter if we draft Odell Beecham jr or marquis lee if Drew is on his back all year what good are those superstar receivers?! We need to draft an OT with the first pick!! If not were going see another 36 sack year and going be a long season!!!

  • john

    O line is not the saints biggest problem… This article seems much more opinion based than anything to do with actual facts.

    • Charlotte

      You’re exactly right, john! It is an opinion piece. Both of our Saints writers were asked to share their opinions about this topic. Thanks for reading!

  • Leroy


  • Tyrone

    Offensive Tackle is definitely NOT the biggest need we have. Terron struggled in his first couple games understandably as he was just a rookie, but greatly improved down the road. Strief was also one of our anchors on the OL… This will give you an idea of how our line was It makes no sense to draft a OT with the first pick to sit behind Armstead and Strief, if it was a best available pick then sure but we have more pressing needs that we need to address on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.

    Like…WR, It is not the most talented and impressive position on the squad by far. Tanner, Toon and Meachum have done absolutely nothing in the regular season. Could they develop? Sure, but Tanner and Toon are largely unknown with Tanner being in the league since 2010 and has yet to play in a regular season game. As for Meachum, he was mostly signed for his run blocking and to provide depth at WR. There’s a reason San Diego release him and his current contract is only worth $920,000. That leaves us with Colston, Stills and Graham. Colston is turning 31 in June and played in 12 games for 943 yards last season. Hardly the dynamic number 1 receiver the team needs… Stills showed flashes last season and could be a good receiver for us in the future but he needs to prove he can do more than just catch the deep ball. Or else he’s going to turn into another Henderson. Graham is our best player on offense not named Brees but a TE shouldn’t be our best weapon. In my opinion it’s pretty evident that the WR position is either getting old or largely unproven. It’s a position that we have largely ignored in the early rounds of the draft and definitely a part of the squad we need an upgrade in.

    Other positions we could focus on would be CB. Keenan Lewis is great but we really don’t have any good players after him. White is serviceable but not someone we want starting in the long run. Bailey is old and has lost a step. He should be a great mentor and if he still has something left in the tank all the better. But he’s not gonna be in NO for more than a year or two. Robinson is always injured and hasn’t lived up to his first round pick and it remains to be seen if he can be anything more than a nickel corner. If we could get someone like Verret, Roby or Fuller we could provide depth at CB and have someone Bailey could groom.

    I agree that be need some depth at OL and a better C, but it is definitely not our biggest need and if we waste a first rounder on one it better be a GREAT value pick.

    • Timothy Perry

      I didn’t see Joseph Morgan’s name mentioned. If he fully recovers from his injury(doesn’t lose a step) and can recover from his off-field issues as well, he is a speedster and deep threat that we could use to keep the secondary honest. I liked his promising talent 2 years ago. Too bad Toon never panned out ; good size to be a physical receiver.

  • Trey Snow

    I’m not sure if you are trying to get your readers to believe this or if you actually believe it yourself. There are several points I disagree with here but let me just pick 3:
    1) “This year, the New Orleans Saints pick 27th in the draft, which is not a bad spot to be picking”
    – in your opinion what IS a bad spot? If you are in search of top quality Tackle, as you indicate the Saints are, then 27 is a TERRIBLE spot to be picking. The drop off from Robinson (Auburn) and Matthews (A&M) to the rest is tremendous, so picking outside of the top 10 for Tackle is a “bad spot.” Even if a team is desperate for a Tackle and picks up Lewan (Michigan) or even Martin (Notre Dame) would be be tough to get after 20. The Saints would be settling and overpaying for Moses at 27th. And the Saints do not “settle” for players when drafting…
    2) The Saints are NOTORIOUS for picking the best athlete on the board. You have lost it if you think Moses will be the best player on the board at 27th. More than likely, the sexiest player will be on Defense and Rob Ryan does not already have “the tools he needs to make the Saints #1 in the league on his side of the ball.” If you remember this years Super Bowl Champs, the Seahawks showed that you have to have depth at rushing the passer. If available, I think the Saints jump at a chance to pick up Dee Ford (DE Auburn, least likely), Shazier (OLD Ohio State, more likely) or Jason Verett (CB TCU, most likely). Having Verett and Nickle along with all the secondary moves would allow Rob Ryan to have a LOT of fun next year.
    3) Last point, and maybe most important. It seems as if you went out of your way to say the Saints do not need a WR, but then took a cop-out with “unless an amazing player is available at #27.” Who is that player? Sammy Watkins? Mike Evans? Odell Beckham? None will be available. Then who? Marqisee Lee? I don’t think he is “amazng,” but would be a great pick at that point. The fact that you think we are “well-equipped” at WR is laughable.

    Overall, I don’t see any way the Saints pass up on DEF & WR in the first two rounds.

  • Enrique Shockwave

    When did Payton pull Brown “from the playbook?” Are you talking tackle option plays, or does he just have magazine cut-outs of Brown pasted into the playbook like a 12-year-old girl’s diary? Please tell me he has this.

    Also, two words: Wide Receiver.

    • Colonel Hapablap

      Receiver is not even close to the most talented position on the squad. QB, Safety, and yes, Offensive Tackle clearly have more talent. Jimmy Graham is a TE.