Andrus Peat: Most Improved Player
Early in the year, it was looking like this award would go to DT Tyeler Davison. Davison, after a relatively quiet 2015 rookie campaign, looked to have put it all together and become a competent and explosive player along the defensive line. Particularly in training camp and the preseason, Davison looked to be the textbook emerging sophomore.
We’ll we only found out recently that Davison injured his shoulder early in the season, severly enough that it now requires surgery. That might explain why, after so much hype, he had a relatively pedestrian 2016 campaign.
So in his stead, Andrus Peat did more than enough to earn the M.I.P. award.
Peat was by no means perfect on the year. Filling in for Terron Armstead at LT did no wonders for his reputation, as of course he failed to match Armstead’s top-tier production.
But after fans were widely ready to dismiss Peat as a bust, his bounce-back 2016 performance highlighted just how rash it is to judge a rookie on their first, or even second, years.
Fans need to be more aware that many players take time to develop and to reach their ceilings. Be patient.
The Saints originally drafted Peat to fill in for the aging Zach Streif at RT. But Peat played LT in college and never made a smooth transition to the right side. In the future, who knows, maybe the Saints will give him another look at unseating Streif. But for now, Peat looks more comfortable at LG than elsewhere on the line. That’s not to say that he can’t play well as a tackle. But assuming Terron Armstead stays healthy next year, Peat should be able to stick at LG. And I expect he’d put together a very solid year as a guard.
Peat’s been responsible for a few sacks on the year. But playing LT means typically going up against the opposing defense’s best pass rusher. And for the most part, Peat did an outstanding job.
But what has me most excited about his potential are the flash plays he made in the run game. Peat is a huge body. He absolutely pancaked some defensive lineman and linebackers when playing LG to open up holes for Ingram and the Saints ground game. He moves well in the second level, and seeing him at LG should, in 2017, mean an even better year from Ingram.