Jeff Ireland, New Orleans Saints set for busy week at NFL combine


The New Orleans Saints, like all teams, have a lot going on this week with the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine kicking off, but the Black and Gold should be extra busy.

It’s no secret.  The New Orleans Saints are in dire need of some upgrades at numerous positions, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.  A historically bad performance in 2015 and major struggles the season prior will validate that.

Luckily, for the Saints, the upcoming draft class is a deep one, and assistant general manager/college scouting director Jeff Ireland knows it.  In fact, New Orleans constructed a draft board prior to the NFL combine that is a bit more sizeable than Ireland has been used to in the past.  He pointed out that some of the defensive positions are strong.

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In Tuesday’s episode of the ‘Black and Blue Report’ podcast, Ireland also mentioned that the New Orleans Saints staff will have 60 formal interviews with draft prospects at the combine, in addition to another 100 players they’ll talk to personally.  There is without question a ton of talent in this year’s rookie class, and the Saints will try their best at another solid seven rounds after last year’s success in the draft.

Some prospects to keep an eye on:

The New Orleans hired Ireland prior to the 2015 season, and all of a sudden, they had their best draft in years.  Yes, drafting productive, franchise players has been a huge problem, and it’s beginning to show on the field.  You know it’s a big issue when a large percentage of players who were drafted just a few years ago aren’t even on the team anymore.

Years of scouting experience and front office jobs with various teams, highlighted by a tenure as general manager of the Miami Dolphins (2008-13) and topped off by a season with the Seattle Seahawks as a draft consultant in 2014, made Ireland a tremendous hire for the New Orleans Saints.

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The talents of Jeff Ireland are key for both the present and future of this organization on both offense and defense.  With scouting combine workouts set to get underway, Ireland, head coach Sean Payton, and the rest of the Saints staff will have their hands full as they try and upgrade the team in attempts to make another run at the Super Bowl before quarterback Drew Brees‘ time is up, while also keeping a long-term plan in place.