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New Orleans Saints 2014 Season Preview and Predictions

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May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Brandin Cooks (Oregon State) poses for photos after being selected as the number twenty overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft to the New Orleans Saints at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Offseason

Offseason Losses: LB Jonathan Vilma, LB Will Herring, S Malcolm Jenkins, RB Darren Sproles (Trade), DE Will Smith, WR Lance Moore, FB Jed Collins, C Brian de la Puente, T Charles Brown, DT Tom Johnson, CB Jabari Greer

Important Newcomers: S Jairus Byrd (Bills), FB Erik Lorig (Buccaneers), CB Champ Bailey (Broncos – later cut), S Marcus Ball (CFL), C Jonathan Goodwin (49ers)

Draft Recap:

Round 1 – #20 Overall (via Cardinals): Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
Round 2 – #58th Overall: Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
Round 4 – #126th Overall: Khairi Fortt, ILB, California
Round 5 – #167 Overall (via Eagles): Vinnie Sunseri, SS, Alabama
Round 5 – #169 Overall: Ronald Powell, OLB, Florida
Round 6 – #202 Overall: Tavon Rooks, OT, Kansas

The Saints were able to shock everyone in the offseason by acquiring safety Jairus Byrd, who was arguably the top free agent of the offseason. The team was nearly $13 million over the salary cap in January, but general manager Mickey Loomis was able to ‘make it happen’. It was quite disheartening for Who Dat Nation to have to say goodbye to Lance Moore, Jonathan Vilma, Jabari Greer, and Will Smith, who were integral parts of the 2009 Championship team. We were also shocked to learn that running back Darren Sproles would be traded to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The draft also took us by surprise, as the Saints traded with Arizona Cardinals to acquire the 20th overall pick. The team drafted Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks, who instantly adds value and impact to the Saints as a playmaker. Of the drafted players, the team only parted ways with tackle Tavon Rooks for the 53-man roster (he was later brought back to the Saints practice squad). The Saints, who have had a knack for finding and developing undrafted rookie free agents, also added linebacker Kasim Edebali, and cornerback Brian Dixon.

As for the final cuts, we were all shocked to hear about the departures of veterans Robert Meachem and Champ Bailey. Perhaps what was more perplexing is the fact that the team cut both of their kickers, Shayne Graham and Derek Dimke, as well. Just remember, Mickey Loomis has a grand plan.

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