NFL Power Rankings: Saints Fall in ESPN’s Post-Draft Analysis


Dec 23, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) throws a pass in the pocket during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium. The Saints beat the Cowboys 34-31 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 NFL draft appeared to help the New Orleans Saints in a variety of ways, but to some, that doesn’t mean the team has actually improved enough to warrant moving up in power rankings.

According to ESPN’s  post-draft power rankings, the Saints have actually moved down two spots.

Despite landing a starting defensive back in Kenny Vaccaro, having a potential starter at left tackle in Terron Armstead, picking up a solid nose tackle in John Jenkins and having one of the best undrafted free-agent classes around thanks to Kevin Reddick and Chase Thomas, the Saints are moving down, not up in some folk’s eyes.

Oh, not to mention head coach Sean Payton is back.

Entering the draft, the Saints were listed by ESPN as the No. 12 tean. After the draft? Now New Orleans resides as the No. 14 team:

"Sean Payton’s return to the sideline apparently hasn’t convinced all of our voters that a playoff run awaits. (Sando)"

Now it makes sense there would be a lot of movement based on how teams drafted, but generally the consensus has been the Saints had a very solid draft overall. Heck, even ESPN’s Mel Kiper gave the Saints a solid “B” for how the team performed in the draft.

There are reasons to doubt the Saints heading into the 2013 season. A big offensive weapon in Devery Henderson is gone, with a rookie such as Kenny Stills potentially filling his void. Left tackle Jermon Bushrod is gone, and a rookie like Armstead could be taking his place.

On defense, the unit is coming off the worst statistical season in NFL history. Yes, guru defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is taking over, but he’s coming off getting canned by his last team and is working with a roster mostly made of players used to a 4-3, not the 3-4 he plans on implementing.

So maybe there is some merit to the Saints dropping in power rankings.

Still, it’s hard to think that with head coach Sean Payton returning the Saints can be worse than last season, right? Drew Brees is still around, and like Kiper even pointed out, the team had a heck of a draft class.

Either way, power rankings are like mock drafts in that they only exist to entertain us, the fans. It’s interesting to hear what national media are saying in regards to the Saints, especially in the form of power rankings.

We want to hear what you think! Is ESPN’s ranking of the Saints accurate? Too high? Too low? Let us know in the poll below and be sure to sound off in the comments section! If that doesn’t suit your fancy, feel free to contact us on Twitter @whodatdish or on Facebook.