Maybe the loss to a Seattle Seahawks team that is nearly unbeatable at home was inevitable. That doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt. Now is the not the time to re-open that wound. Instead, we must assess the prospects of the New Orleans Saints moving forward (and imagine a future in which we can be consistently competitive on the road).
The Saints first priority during the off-season will obviously be securing Jimmy Graham to a new, longterm contract. And they have to open up the purse strings if they want him. Jimmy Graham has a produced at an absurdly high level, and he’ll expect to be compensated fairly. Both sides want this, but the question is – Will it happen? The Saints have already speculated that they might franchise the star tight end, though if they pursue Jimmy Graham wants to be classified as a wide receiver, which will greatly increase his franchise tag.
Let’s be frank… As long as Sean Payton and Drew Brees remain in New Orleans, the Saints will be an above-average offensive team, most years they will be quite above average. But if you remove Jimmy Graham from the equation, then the rust on the Saints high-performing offensive motor is going to show. Suddenly, the team will be left with a reliable but quickly degrading talent in Marques Colston, a still raw Kenny Stills, and Lance Moore. Conclusion – It may be time for a changing of the guard in the Saints Wide Receiver group.
The Saints pick 27th in the upcoming NFL draft and several analysts are already predicting that they will target a big wide receiver. Unfortunately, the Mike Evans and Sammy Watkins of the world will most likely already be off the board, which is why some anticipate the Saints to select Florida State wide receiver –and recent national championship hero – Kelvin Benjamin. He’s an exceptionally fast and athletic wide receiver for his size, 6-5, but he’s still somewhat unpolished.
Of course, if the Saints were looking simply for explosiveness and playmaking ability over size, then why not Odell Beckham, Jr. At 6-0, he’s certainly smaller, but this lightning quick, bullish receiver torched SEC defenses for 1,152 yards and 8 touchdowns. Not only that, but he’s also an accomplished return artist.
These are the kind of versatile weapons that increasingly becoming vital in the NFL, and the Saints should take notice.
So what do you think? Will the Saint select a WR with their #1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft?