Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the New Orleans Saints [full archive here].
Season Recap: After a somewhat slow start to the season, the New Orleans Saints exploded in the second-half, finishing the year with eight straight wins. Drew Brees broke Dan Marino’s record of passing yards in a season, and many people anointed the Saints as early Super Bowl favorites. The Saints easily took care of the Lions in the Wild Card round, but failed to beat the 49ers on the road. With Head Coach Sean Payton suspended for the 2012 season, the New Orleans Saints have a lot to overcome if they hope to be contenders in 2012.
1. Outside Linebacker: The Saints signed MLB Curtis Lofton to take over for Jonathon Vilma, who will likely be suspended for his role in the Bounty program, but questions still remain on the outside. Former Ram Chris Chamberlain was signed, but ideally as a depth player. The Saints don’t have a pick until the third round, so a player such as Zach Brown, Keenan Robinson, Sean Spence, or Nigel Bradham would be ideal fits.
2. Defensive End: New Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo loves having a rotation of ends to stay fresh throughout the game, enabling 100% effort every snap. Under “Spags”, you can never have enough D-lineman. The Saints need to add another body to the mix. Cam Johnson and Chandler Jones are names that are possibilities in the third round.
3. Defensive Tackle: Again, you can never have too many D-lineman under Spagnuolo. The Saints made a good signing in run-stuffer Brodrick Bunkley to start alongside Sedrick Ellis, but more depth is needed. With few high draft picks, it will be hard to get production from the rookies in 2012, but if a player such as Brandon Thompson or Kendall Reyes falls in the second round, the Saints could make a move up to grab them.
1. Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck – QB – Stanford - Scouting Report
The Colts rebuilding process is fully underway, and it’s hard not to feel sorry for Andrew Luck. While I fully believe Luck be the centerpiece of this franchise for the next 10-15 years, it’s going to take some time before they can be considered legitimate contenders. With so few weapons around him, Luck is in for a very long and potentially painful rookie year.
2. Washington Redskins - Robert Griffin III – QB – Baylor - Scouting Report
[from Rams] As much as I like Robert Griffin, I do think the Redskins gave up too much. What makes Griffin special is his athleticism, his potential and his work ethic – which leads us to believe he will eventually develop into an elite pro quarterback. But he isn’t there yet, and isn’t even all that close. I expect Griffin to be among the game’s best in three to five years, but with so little talent around him and no meaningful picks with which to add talent, he’s going to struggle early on.
3. Minnesota Vikings - Matt Kalil – OT – USC - Scouting Report
The Vikings may entertain the possibility of trading this pick but if they stay put Kalil is too valuable to pass up. Their offensive line has been depleted by the release of Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera, and if they want to keep Christian Ponder on his feet in 2012, then adding a star at left tackle is a must. Read more
The New England Patriots lack of depth in the secondary forced them to turn to a couple of receivers to play on the defensive side of the ball this past season, so it should come as no surprise that the team is doing its homework on some cornerback prospects for the upcoming draft.
The Patriots may be willing to roll the dice on the injury-plagued Bolden.
Most mock drafts have linked the Patriots to a cornerback (or two) with their four 1st and 2nd round picks. But since they’re looking for depth more than just one playmaker, they don’t necessarily need to spend a high pick on the position.
The Patriots have reportedly scheduled pre-draft visits with LSU cornerback Ron Brooks and Omar Bolden of Arizona State.
Both prospects should come off the board no earlier than the 3rd round, but could each compete for playing time immediately in the Patriots secondary.
Bolden could be of particular interest to the Patriots, who aren’t afraid to gamble on prospects with high upside. Bolden’s stock has fallen considerably after missing most of the 2008 and all of the 2011 season with injuries. But when healthy, Bolden, who was a starter since his freshman year at Arizona State, has shown legitimate starter potential.
For more info, follow our Draft Visit Tracker, updated daily.