The overlooked weakness that could hold the Saints lineup back in 2024

The New Orleans Saints entered the offseason with a few obvious weaknesses, but there’s an under-the-radar weakness that the team didn’t really address.
Carolina Panthers v New Orleans Saints
Carolina Panthers v New Orleans Saints / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

The New Orleans Saints entered the offseason with some very clear areas for improvement. Offensive line, edge rushing, and linebacker depth were clearly among the top priorities. The Saints made that clear with moves like signing Chase Young and Willie Gay, and also drafting Taliese Fuaga with the 14th-overall pick. However, it’s fair to say that New Orleans didn’t adequately address all of its needs.

There are only so many moves a team can make each offseason, and that’s especially the case for a Saints team that’s always fighting to get under the cap. As a result, some position groups may be a little neglected, and ultimately become a weakness for a team.

ESPN’s Mike Clay recently pointed out New Orleans’ weakness in a recent ranking of all 32 teams’ projected lineup. The Saints were ranked at No. 20, and Clay argued that their weakness is the interior defensive line.

Interior defensive line named biggest weakness for Saints

Clay admitted that the offensive line, that’s relying on some inexperienced players, was a candidate, but he ultimately saw the interior defensive line as the bigger issue. Acknowledging the return of Nathan Shepherd, Khalen Saunders, and Bryan Bresee, Clay still expressed concern about the group. However, he believes the edge group, which is now deeper, can help out with the interior group that isn’t as strong.

The interior defensive line was certainly a weakness last season for the Saints, and a big reason why the defense struggled against the run. However, there’s reason to believe in a bounce-back season. Bresee was just a rookie, and improved as the year went on, and Saunders has had quality seasons in the NFL, so a return to form is likely. Additionally, Shepherd has been a consistent veteran.

While the Saints didn’t make any massive additions to the group, an improvement is still likely. If that improvement doesn’t happen, the interior defensive line could be an Achilles’ heel that costs New Orleans games.