Draft review: New Orleans Saints


After analyzing the draft needs of all 32 teams, PFT will review how well each team addressed those needs. Up next: The New Orleans Saints.

What they needed: Outside linebacker, offensive tackle, wide receiver, safety.

Who they got:
Round 1: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas

Round 3: Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Round 3: John Jenkins, DT, Georgia

Round 5: Kenny Stills, WR, Oklahoma

Round 6: Rufus Johnson, DE, Tarleton State

Where they hit: By drafting Vaccaro, they get to take at least one member of the league’s all-time worst defense off the field. That alone makes it a good thing, but they had multiple needs on that side of the ball. Jenkins was effectively the result of the Chris Ivory trade, so they swapped a reserve running back for a guy who could chew up space in the middle of Rob Ryan’s 3-4 defense for years to come.

Where they missed: Armstead has some potential at a spot they have a need, but in the short-term, he might not be more able to protect Drew Brees’ blind side than Charles Brown is this year. But he wasn’t necessarily drafted for this year. They also failed to bring in any meaningful help for the pass rush, which means free agent pickup Victor Butler better take a big step up, or the Saints are going to struggle to be that much better on that side of the ball.

Impact rookies: With only five picks, it was going to be hard to fill all the needs this offseason. And adding the best safety in the draft is clearly a benefit for the Saints. But this group is shorter on now than it is on later, and that’s a troubling sign. Stills has enough talent that he could end up looking like a steal, considering the personnel he has to work with.

Long-term prospects: With Sean Payton back on the sidelines and Brees under center, there’s a floor on how bad the Saints are going to be. But many of the issues they walked into the draft with still exist. Armstead’s talented enough that me might be a starting left tackle, and if he delivers on that, getting him in the third is a coup. They addressed some needs on defense in free agency, but again, it wasn’t going to be possible to check off all the boxes.

20 responses to “Draft review: New Orleans Saints

  1. The Saints got the best safety in the draft and that’s what they needed. All they could do after that was select the best of what was left on other positions. With Sean Payton calling the shots, I don’t think the Saints will be hurting. He’s worth 8 more wins over what the Saints had last season when they were forced to play without a coach.

  2. Saints D is in better shape than national media think. Contrary to popular opinion they are actually better equipped to run 34 than 43 on D and the secondary is much better at man D than zone and spags had them playing zone all last year. Rob Ryan will not force the square peg into round hole. D will be top 15 next year.

  3. Kenny Stills will look like a pro week one with the talent around him. Vaccaro may need to spoken to a little slower since he’s from Texass but luckily his coach has some years of experience with that. Best pick was Griffith , the Tulane QB that will back up Breesus!

  4. Best thing about having the worst ever defense is that things can only get better! I think with Payton back and some new faces on defense we stand a pretty good shot of being a better team both on offense and defense! IMO our offense is so good we only need to field a semi good defense to do well! I’m not saying we are going to win the Super Bowl but the playoffs are def. back in the picture! Who knows the defense might surprise us and we could be looking at a great season! Hey one can hope right? lol BLACK AND GOLD ALL DAY!!!!! WHO DAT WHO DAT!

  5. John Jenkins better turn out to be a damn good player because IMO we gave up a starting RB
    ( IVORY ) for him! Still think we gave Chris away for nothing no matter how good Jenkins ends up being!

  6. They should count these udfa that we picked up too. Possibly 3 players that can contribute with Thomas Lacy and Reddick.

  7. Saints have more chance of winning the division then the perennial also rans that the Bucs have become.

  8. As Saints fans know we have been coming on this board wondering, nay pleading for the coaches to play Junior and Martez (Butler also added) on the outside. We’ve seen flashes but wanted more playing time to validate the type of players they are. We get our chance. Whether they bring it or they don’t, they will get their chance. Make no mistake, that’s what we wished for. Obviously, the Saints agree and are willing to give our boys their chance. That’s why Vaccaro was drafted over Jones. So here it comes. I, for one, think we have the personnel to bring our defense to a top 15 defense. Saints will make the playoffs. So we got what we asked for. Are we right. I think so.

  9. It’s so ridiculous to harp on how bad the Saints D was last year. The reason their stats were so bad was because Spagnuolo refused to change his “scheme” to fit the players they have. Greg Williams knew how to make the scheme fit their abilities and he has a ring to show for it. Spags brought in the 2007 Giants scheme but forgot that we don’t have the 2007 Giants defenders. These are the same players that took the Saints to a 13-3 record and the divisional round in 2011. Same guys. Then Spags gets there and it all goes to crap. And when you have a top 5 offense which the Saints have had every year since Payton’s arrival, all you need is a mediocre defense. They won the Super Bowl in 2009 with a mediocre defense as far as statistics go. In 2011 they were like 25th overall, same players as last year, 13-3.

  10. meandjuliojonesdownbytheschoolyard says: Apr 28, 2013 10:53 PM

    Brees can only carry the team so much, and we just stocked up on defense. Saints don’t even win the division. Go Bucs.
    went over to your review to get a take on your thoughts of your draft…nothing…crickets…however you found the time to troll the Saints. Says alot!!!

  11. I wonder if the judgment will continue to be that the Saints “failed to bring in any meaningful help for the pass rush” when DE Rufus Johnson from Division II Tarleton State is kicking tail all over the field next fall on 3rd down. The Saints have had a lot of success with small school players since Sean Payton arrived, and Johnson will be the next example.

  12. Only 6 times in the 2012 season did a team manage to do what every defense of all 32 teams set out to do in all 16 games; shut out their opponent… those teams are the 49ers, Seahawks, Falcons, Patriots, Raiders, and Saints*. So of 512 individual tries, it was accomplished 6 times. Yet this article would make you think that every player on the Saints defense needs to be replaced.

    *Worst defense in the history of the NFL.

  13. Reading these comments has left me puzzled! First… Worst D ever and the fix is Rob Ryan? 2nd look around the league… Nfc alone, playoff spots: San Fran, Seattle, Atlanta, Green Bay, Chicago, Minn, Wash, Dallas. Atl getting Steve Jackson was huge, you have to load the box up or Jones, white, gonzo will kill you, so that’s division winner. Carolina beat saints twice, Tampa is clearly loading the wagon. Saints are very possibly last in division. I saw Breed decline last year, and I feel that the refs and nfl won’t be so generous to NO this year with Payton back. Looks like beginning of the end to me. Just saying!

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