Why the New Orleans Saints must absolutely sign a guard in free agency

shootsmcgavin
Dec 13, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) kneels in the huddle during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. The New Orleans Saints won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 13, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) kneels in the huddle during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. The New Orleans Saints won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /
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Kelechi Osemele
Oct 26, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Baltimore Ravens guard Kelechi Osemele (72) against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Bengals defeated the Ravens 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports /

Name: Kelechi Osemele
Age next season: 27
2015 Team: Baltimore Ravens
2015 Cap hit: $1,064,595

Between all the free agent guards, Osemele is undoubtedly the best in every aspect.  And a pay day is coming for him.  The former second-round pick out of Idaho State continues his emergence in the NFL.

He boats outstanding size (6-foot-5, 330 pounds), strength, and power, particularly in the run game.  But his presence in pass blocking also has a consistency to it that neither Boone, Foster, or any current guard on the New Orleans Saints boast.  Osemele also adds in the Super Bowl experience factor, but so do Boone and Foster, which is certainly a plus.

Who Dat Dish contributor Brian Pavek did a write up on Osemele earlier this week.  Take a look:

"What makes Osemele so tantalizing though is the near zero (near because nothing in life is guaranteed) chance of him being a bust. A proven player with a great skillset that you could place between your center and one of the top-three left tackles in the game today, or between your pro bowl center and your second-year right tackle (sorry Zach Strief) to help him develop. In EITHER case, Osemele is a fantastic fit and an instant upgrade, and better play in the trenches will allow the Saints to do more than simply block better for Drew Brees. They can block better for Mark Ingram. One of the areas of weakness that hasn’t been covered nearly enough to this point is the at times horrid run blocking of the Saints interior line, in particular Jahri Evans, who is no longer with the team. The best way to keep Brees healthy and effective is rely on a consistentrun game to control the down and distance. You can’t do that without quality play on the interior, and because the New Orleans Saints vertical passing game relies a lot on play action to set it up, the improvement of the guard position becomes that much more important. Not only do you need guards strong enough to establish the run to force teams to bite on play action, but also solid enough in pass protection to give Brees the time to find the open man downfield."

Next: 5 guards for Saints to watch at NFLCombine

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Osemele is the best fit, plain and simple.  But whether it’s Osemele, Boone, Foster, or another proven veteran, addressing at least one of the guard positions in free agency is an absolute must. The free agency period begins March 9.

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