When I write these draft review posts, I like to give a couple paragraphs which sort of sum up the direction of each team heading into the next couple of years. Then, I give you guys a rundown of the picks - mainly by highlighting patterns, like the last post in which I pointed out how defensively heavy the Packers' draft was. This gives the draft a bit of context, I feel, as we head into the season - especially since it's hard to know so many teams completely backwards and forwards.
In thinking about the direction of the New Orleans Saints going forward, I can't help but get a sense that this is a team imploding from the inside. Now, don't get me wrong: any team with Drew Brees under center is a dangerous team. Dude's good, in case you haven't noticed. But the last couple of years have seen earlier exits from the playoffs than they would hope for. Also, the recent defenses have left a bit to be desired.
But, the biggest problem is obviously the bounty fallout. The coach and player suspensions are clearly big deals for the team. If you doubt that coaches have much impact upon a team, then you just ignored the last season of 49er football. Even bigger, though, are the lost draft picks. This league really is driven on the draft. Without premier picks, the Saints will suffer.
So this last draft, the Saints had to deal with a pick-a-round starting with the third. In the third round, they chose DT Akiem Hicks from Regina. On the otherside of the line, with their sixth and seventh round choices, the Saints selected OG Andrew Tiller from Syracuse and OT Marcel Jones from Nebraska. I must confess to not knowing much about these specific players, but from what I have read about Hicks, that could be a very solid pick in the third round.
From the trenches to the aerial game, the Saints spent their other picks on fourth rounder WR Nick Toon from Wisconsin and fifth rounder Corey White, the SS from Samford. I'm a pretty big fan of the Toon pick. The kids has a lot of potential to play at a solid level in the NFL. He might lack the top end speed of a few receivers, but his addition to an already potent passing attack should help the Saints greatly.