Today's post will be a very short one, because the New Orleans Saints have not done much of anything this off-season.
Fan favorite Scott Fujita has left the team to join the Cleveland Browns. Fujita was solid, but unspectacular at outside linebacker. However, his departure makes the position an area of need heading into the draft.
New Orleans lost another defensive starter when they released DE Charles Grant. Grant's production tailed off badly as the season progressed, and he suffered a serious tricep injury. This is another position that the team may look to upgrade via the draft.
Running back Mike Bell has also signed with another club. The Philadelphia Eagles gave him a 1-year $1.7 million offer and the Saints refused to match. The club was reportedly concerned with Bell's late season struggles and the knee sprain that he suffered. New Orleans still has Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush on the roster, but they might miss Bell's more physical running style in 2010.
Veteran defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove will be back with the team next season, after signing a 1-year $1.2 million contract. He was very effective in a back-up role last year, racking up 42 tackles and five sacks. The Lions were rumored to have been interested in Hargrove, but they will have to trade for him now.
SB Nation's own Mocking the Draft has the Saints selecting DE Everson Griffen from USC in their latest Mock Draft. DE Carlos Dunlap is another possibility.
Team Needs and 2009 Draft results after the jump...
- Outside Linebacker: The Saints lost a starter when Scott Fujita left for the Browns. They will need to find a player who can replace his production at some point during the draft. This is one of the team's biggest need areas.
- Defensive Tackle: Some additional depth at this position could help make the defense more stout against the run. They don't necessarily need a star, but another capable player to mix into their current rotation.
- Defensive End: This along with outside linebacker is the biggest area of concern for New Orleans. They need to find a left end who can get consistent pressure on the passer. Expect them to draft an end early in the draft.
- Tight End: Jeremy Shockey is still a solid tight end, but he is aging and the team could use a younger player with more explosiveness.
- Offensive Line depth: Like most teams, the Saints could stand to acquire some additional depth to guard against the effects of injuries.
- Running Back: The departure of Mike Bell means the team may select a running back to add to their backfield. Look for them to target a player with a physical running style to replace Bell's production.
2009 Draft Results
- CB Malcolm Jenkins (Ohio State)
- S Chip Vaughn (Wake Forest)
- LB Stanley Arnoux (Wake Forest)
- P Thomas Morstead (Southern Methodist)