Sean Payton: Saints’ biggest area of need is pass rusher
Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints head coach and shot caller, said the team’s biggest need this offseason is a pass rusher.
The New Orleans Saints could without question use an additional body in the front seven to get after opposing quarterbacks. Head coach Sean Payton, who is expecting a new contract soon, spoke to Pro Football Talk’s (NBC Sports) Mike Florio on Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine, making it clear without hesitation that the Saints’ biggest area of need this offseason is a pass rusher, whether it be in the draft or free agency.
Payton said addressing the guard position and the front seven is top priority. You can’t argue with that. Drew Brees needs his protection and the running backs need their holes on offense, while applying pressure on defense not only racks up sacks and makes plays in the backfield, it creates throwing errors and gives the secondary the opportunity to make big plays as well.
There wasn’t much of that in 2015. The Saints’ pass rush, or lack thereof, undoubtedly took a toll on the cornerbacks and safeties. We want to see vintage Jairus Byrd! A consistent pass rush will open that door.
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As far as pass rushers, the 2016 rookie class is loaded with them. From defensive ends to defensive tackles, to outside linebackers, the NFL Draft won’t disappoint when the selection process rolls around at the end of April.
The free agent class isn’t a bad one either. While the Saints’ salary cap situation is not ideal, they will be in better shape than they were a season ago, despite what certain members of the media insist on reporting. Cuts are still to be made and contracts extensions/restructures remain on the agenda. Affordable talent is out there for New Orleans — that won’t be an issue.
Next: Sean Payton, Saints closing in on new contract
For Sean Payton, assistant general manager/college scouting director Jeff Ireland, and company, at the moment, they’re busy at the NFL combine. The Saints staff will have 60 formal interviews with draft prospects, in addition to another 100 players they’ll talk to personally. Don’t worry, Saints fans, you’ll get your pass rusher.