Outsiders might not have much faith in the New Orleans Saints roster this year but Pro Football Focus believes the roster is in good shape.
It’s not difficult to see why people wouldn’t believe in the New Orleans Saints roster. After all, this team had a miserable time trying to score points on offense last year and while the defense was impressive, it’s hard to win games when the offense can’t put points on the board.
Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus, however, believes that the Saints roster will be much better this year. In fact, he ranked them 11th on his list of NFL rosters. That’s right — Linsey had the Saints right outside the top 10 when it comes to the best rosters in the league!
With every roster, Linsey provided each team’s biggest strength, biggest weakness, and an X-factor.
Linsey said the biggest strength for the Saints is their defense, which isn’t a shock. Yes, they lost Marcus Williams and Malcolm Jenkins but they upgraded their secondary with the additions of Tyrann Mathieu and Marcus Maye plus they drafted Alontae Taylor in the second round.
The biggest weakness for New Orleans, according to Linsey, is their left tackle spot. Terron Armstead left in free agency and while the team spent a first-round pick on Trevor Penning, it’s a lot to ask of a rookie to play well at left tackle and that’s assuming he even wins the job. James Hurst could end up winning the starting gig.
Linsey offered this analysis:
"Penning was a dominant run blocker in his final season at Northern Iowa in 2021, earning a 99.9 run-blocking grade. However, he’ll be making the jump from FCS to NFL competition as a rookie and had trouble with penalties at the college level. Whether it’s Penning or James Hurst starting the season on the left side, New Orleans can expect a step back at the position."
The X-factor for the Saints, at least per Linsey’s article, is Michael Thomas. This would have been a weird pick a few years ago but after Thomas has battled injuries the past two years, it’s not surprising to see him listed as the X-factor. The wide receiver corp is better now for NOLA but if they want to be at their best, Thomas has to bring his A-game.
"The Saints did a good job of bolstering what profiled as one of the weaker receiving corps in the league entering this offseason with the Chris Olave and Jarvis Landry additions, but they need Thomas to get back to the level he was playing at prior to 2020 in order to really flourish as a unit."
The Saints might have gotten off to a slow start this offseason but they’ve upgraded an already-strong roster, especially on offense, which needed the fine-tuning the most.
Those who haven’t been following the Saints closely this offseason might be surprised to see the black and gold ranked so high but they’ve made the necessary moves this offseason to boast one of the best rosters in the NFL.