Saints’ under-25 talent shows why a rebuild is necessary for sustained success

The New Orleans Saints are a veteran-led team but that needs to change if the franchise is going to have success for years to come.
New Orleans Saints Mandatory Minicamp
New Orleans Saints Mandatory Minicamp / Derick E. Hingle/GettyImages

Building a successful team, that can dominate yearly, in the NFL is all about balance. You need a good defense and a good offense. You should build through the draft and free agency. You should have elite veteran players and talented young players. Doing good in all areas is usually the key to creating great teams.

The New Orleans Saints haven’t been checking all of the aforementioned boxes, and they aren’t currently a great team. One department the Saints are really struggling in is acquiring young talent. In 2023, New Orleans was the oldest team in the NFL. The franchise is always battling the salary cap because they have a ton of high-paid veteran players.

When you think of the current Saints, the players that come to mind are Alvin Kamara, Cam Jordan, Marshon Lattimore, Tyrann Mathieu, Demario Davis, and other players that are closer to the end of their careers than they are the beginning. It’s always great to have veteran leadership, but a team’s best players being guys who are nearing the end of the road isn’t a recipe for sustained success.

Unfortunately, the Saints have a lot of work to do in terms of building a young core that can carry the franchise. ESPN writer Aaron Schatz recently ranked teams by the under-25 talent they have on the roster. Loaded young teams like the Houston Texans and the Detroit Lions topped the list but New Orleans was near the bottom at No. 30.

ESPN ranks Saints’ under-25 talent at No. 30

The only teams ranked lower than New Orleans were the Las Vegas Raiders and the Miami Dolphins. Miami, however, surely doesn’t care, as it is currently a Super Bowl contender with elite players in their prime. That’s not the case for the Saints.

In New Orleans, Schatz argued that wide receiver Chris Olave is the only under-25, blue-chip player on the roster. However, other young players like A.T. Perry, Jordan Howden, Bryan Bresee, and rookies Taliese Fuaga and Kool-Aid McKinstry were also highlighted.

The 2024 season will be an opportunity for all of these players to step up and prove that they can carry the Saints moving forward. If that doesn’t happen, New Orleans may be forced to turn its high-paid veterans into draft picks to help acquire more young talent.