Taking the focus off the obvious Saints news for a moment, let’s take a look at the roster as it currently stands and see what needs the team may address in the draft. I won’t be taking into account the pending player suspensions as there are too many variables in that situation.
Drew Brees*, Chase Daniel, Sean Canfield
Assuming Brees gets a long term deal done before the season or that he signs the franchise tender, he’ll be in uniform this year. Daniel is a capable backup and Canfield will most likely be on the practice squad.
Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, Chris Ivory, Chris Taylor
The depth here is interchangeable as no one running back is a true starter. One of the stronger and more diverse groups in the league.
Jed Collins, Korey Hall
Collins probably won this job last year.
Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Devery Henderson, Adrian Arrington, Joe Morgan, Courtney Roby*, Andy Tanner
Nice mix of experience and youth in this group. The emergence of Arrington and Morgan will help ease the loss of Meachem. May need another deep threat if Henderson has lost a step.
Jimmy Graham, Dave Thomas, Michael Higgins
Graham is a freak of nature. As long as he stays healthy, the Saints offense will continue to be one of the most dynamic in the league.
Jermon Bushrod, Zach Strief, Charles Brown, Pat McQuistan*, Phil Trautwein, Fenuki Tupou
Solid group that gets the job done. Bushrod seems to improve with each year. Will be interesting to see the training camp battle between Strief and Brown.
Jahri Evans, Ben Grubbs, Eric Olsen, Nick Howell
Even with the loss of Carl Nicks, Evans and Grubbs are one of the strongest guard tandems in the league.
Brian De La Puenta, Matt Tennant
De La Puenta did a commendable job last year, but is not a top 10 center by any means. Wouldn’t be surprised to see the Saints draft a center in later rounds.
Will Smith, Cameron Jordan, Turk McBride, Junior Gallette, Greg Romeus
Much will be expected of this group this year. The younger guys will have to step up big to avoid an overhaul in 2013.
Sedrick Ellis, Broderick Bunkley, Tom Johnson, Mitch King, Swanson Miller
It would be nice if Ellis would make the jump to an elite DT, but he’s a solid starter nonetheless. Depth behind Bunkley and Ellis could possibly be upgraded.
Jonathan Vilma, Curtis Lofton, Martez Wilson, David Hawthorne*, Chris Chamberlain, Jonathan Casillas*, Scott Shanle, Will Herring, Ezra Butler, Nate Bussey, Jeremiah Hunter
Didn’t list them as inside or outside because it’s yet to be seen who will be where. With a new Defensive Coordinator everyone will be evaluated from scratch. That being said, this is the most talent the Saints have had at this position since the Dome Patrol.
Jabari Greer, Patrick Robinson, Johnny Patrick, Leigh Torrence*, Kamaal Mcllwain, Cord Parks, Josh Victorian
Patrick Robinson should step in nicely for Tracy Porter this year. Johnny Patrick will have to make big strides to be a legitimate nickel CB. Will definitely need depth here.
Malcolm Jenkins, Roman Harper, Isa Abdul Quddus, Jonathan Amaya
Any day now, Jenkins will make the leap to Troy Polamalu/Ed Reed level. At least that’s what Saints fans are hoping. It will be interesting to see how Spagnuolo uses Roman Harper as the last DC used him heavily as a blitzing SS, where he seemed to excel. Spagnuolo may want to add more of a cover SS.
K Garrett Hartley, P Thomas Morestead, LS Drescher
A solid group as long as we get the Hartley of the 2009 playoffs. Morestead is the most underrated punter in the league.
*has not signed yet, but I am predicting will be on the team