Saints offensive line has a ton of room for improvement on the field and in rankings

The New Orleans Saints are relying on their rebuilt offensive line to significantly improve in 2024, but experts aren’t optimistic in the group’s potential.
New Orleans Saints Mandatory Minicamp
New Orleans Saints Mandatory Minicamp / Derick E. Hingle/GettyImages

When the New Orleans Saints start training camp for the 2024 NFL season, all eyes will be on the offensive line. Sure, there will be questions about Derek Carr in his second season with the team, concerns about the health of players like Chase Young, and curiosity about the form of veteran players like Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore, but the biggest training camp storyline will be the state of the offensive line.

Last season, the offensive line was average at best. New Orleans only allowed 35 sacks, which was eighth least in the NFL but the unit struggled to run block, averaging just 102.5 rushing yards a game— 21st in the NFL.

In 2024, the offensive line will look significantly different. This offseason, James Hurst retired, Andrus Peat joined the Las Vegas Raiders in free agency, and Ryan Ramczyk underwent a knee surgery that could keep him sidelined. The Saints are returning Erik McCoy and Cesar Ruiz at center and right guard, but young, inexperienced linemen Taliese Fuaga, Nick Saldiveri, and Trevor Penning are expected to start at the other positions.

With the uncertainty surrounding the offensive line, analysts aren’t optimistic about how the group will perform in 2024. Zoltán Buday recently ranked all 32 offensive lines for PFF. New Orleans’ line was ranked last at No. 32.

PFF ranks Saints as the worst offensive line entering 2024

Buday points out that New Orleans has four first-round picks on the offensive line, but argues the performance of the group doesn’t reflect that.

"Right tackle Ryan Ramczyk will likely need to miss the entire season, which will force New Orleans to play Trevor Penning at that spot after benching him in 2023. Right guard Cesar Ruiz has failed to rank among the top 50 guards in PFF overall grade in any of his first four seasons. As a result, the Saints have to hope that Oregon State product Taliese Fuaga will hit the ground running at left tackle to improve the unit."

Zoltán Buday (PFF)

This is the common conclusion when looking at the Saints offensive line: Taliese Fuaga needs to be really good, really fast. New Orleans is asking a lot of the young lineman, starting him at one of the league’s toughest positions. However, the Saints believe Fuaga is the right player for the challenge and offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak has the right system to help Fuaga.

Even if that’s all true, New Orleans will still need the other players on the line to take their game to a new level if the Saints are going to be a consistently productive offense.