The season is winding down, Christmas is right around the corner. You know what that means? A bunch of us whiny sportswriters deciding the Saints needs for the next season to be even better than they were this season! In all seriousness though, it’s never too early for the Saints scouting department to be looking for next year’s talent, draft or free agency. After all, if they weren’t on their toes, we wouldn’t have though of Kenny Vaccaro, and just look how well he’s done. So, based on what we have seen so far, here are some serious areas of need for 2014.
Cornerback. Not really safety, but the cornerback position is an important area of focus heading into this offseason. Corey White has been up and down, Chris Carr was frequently picked on, and Jabari Greer and Patrick Robinson have proved that they are apt to injury. We all hope that Greer and Robinson come back and perform at a top level, but it just might be time to find another serious option across from the stellar Keenan Lewis. Besides, as we have seen in the Sean Payton era, defensive back is always an area you need some depth in. Injuries and inconsistency in the past have proven that enough.
Offensive Linemen (or a new Offensive Line Coach. Since Sean Payton and Aaron Kromer took over the Saints offensive line, I would never have thought this would be an area of need. Jahri Evans, Ben Grubbs, Brian de la Puente, Charles Brown, and Zach Streif have all at one point or another have had awful games. Brown, particularly, has had a hard year. This weekend will see a new member, Terron Armstead, try his hand at the left tackle spot. Irregardless, the penalties and amount of sacks on Drew Brees is not at all what we expect out of the Saints offense. A new guard might be in order, maybe even a new tackle. However, I wouldn’t rule out a new coach for the line either. With Aaron Kromer, Evans was a Pro Bowler and de la Puente was a revelation. Strief is probably the most reliable option at this point, but without a great scheme and a good coach, this crew won’t be able to pull it together. Evans’s regression is particularly troubling.
Pass Rusher. You can never have enough of these guys. Cam Jordan and Junior Galette have been exactly who we have needed them to be. Akiem Hicks has been solid against the run and pass. Even with Victor Butler and Will Smith returning next season, the Saints need a stellar pass rusher opposite Jordan or Galette. There are a few great ones in the draft and maybe even a few option in free agency. This will elevate the defense to a new level and create even more unpredictability.