Saints change fortunes under Jeff Ireland

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 17: General Manager Jeff Ireland of the Miami Dolphins looks on while the team warms up prior to the game against the San Diego Chargers on November 17, 2013 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 17: General Manager Jeff Ireland of the Miami Dolphins looks on while the team warms up prior to the game against the San Diego Chargers on November 17, 2013 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /
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2017

This year’s draft may go down in history as the best ever – not just for Ireland, but in Saints history. First pick Marshon Lattimore is not only a candidate for rookie of the year, he is having a Pro-Bowl season.

As a rookie. Ryan Ramczyk has been quite solid taking over for the injured Zach Strief. Marcus Williams has stepped in and become a starter in the three safety defense the Saints employ often. There are not enough superlatives to describe Alvin Kamara and what he means to this team.

Alex Anzalone was a starter until his injury, and was looking to be a stud. And the two defensive ends picked up at the end of the draft (guys who are usually projects, just hopefuls to be on film and maybe get picked up elsewhere)? Trey Hendrickson has 2 sacks, 2 passes defensed and a forced fumble. Al-Quadin Muhammad has simply been caught in a numbers game – the defense is playing very well and there’s no space to put him on. Aside from 2 games, he’s been inactive most of the season.

This draft class stands out

The NFL had a stellar draft class this season, and many teams reaped the rewards. But it could be argued that no team reaped so many rewards as the Saints. Ireland’s pickups from this season are almost all major contributors already. And to a team that has reeled off 6 straight wins. The Saints say they had much higher grades for each of their first 4 selections than where they landed, so they were fortunate they fell to them.

Next: 2017 a lost season for Delvin Breaux

Who Dat’s are salivating. The Saints defense is good, and they average 24.8 years of age across their 11 primary starter  Craig Robertson is the oldest starter, Cam Jordan is the most experienced.

The Saints have gotten younger, faster, and more aggressive on both sides of the ball. And much of that is home-spun talent, gained through draft and through the hard work of Jeff Ireland and the player personnel staff.

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