State of the (Saints) Nation

By: Thomas Capo
Posted: March 9, 2020

Saints Nation: Once more?  With feeling.  

Result: NFC South Champion

2019 Regular season record: 13-3

2019 Scoring Offensive Rank: 3rd 28.6 PPG 

2019 Scoring Defensive Rank: 13th 21.3 PPG

2020 Draft First Pick: 24

Coach: Sean Payton

The Offseason Scenario

The panic meter ratcheted up just a bit this offseason after a third-straight playoff heartbreak for Drew Brees and the crew.  Rumors swirled that this was to be the final rodeo for Brees, win, lose or draw.

It wasn’t.

Brees has plenty left in the tank and looks like he isn’t too sure about leaving Saints fans’ fragile hearts in the hands of the untested Taysom Hill. 

The Saints will need to prepare for the eventual departure of their quarterback, but not yet, because he was tremendous this season, despite his missing a few games. Brees completed a whopping 74.3% of his passes this year, along with 27 TDs and only 4 interceptions.  Those are not the stats of a guy who needs to hang up his cleats.

Looks like Taysom Hill will need to wait until after his 30th birthday to get a chance as an NFL starter…if he stays in the Big Easy.

Free Agent Frenzy

Sean Payton has been clear that he likes his gimmick offense of using Hill seemingly at random to create defensive confusion, and that he wants to actually increase the amount of usage that the not-so-young utility player sees. He’ll need to make some choices though, as Brees, Bridgewater and Hill are all free agents. Brees will be back, the other two, who knows.

Beyond that, it will be a matter of keeping a solid core in place for these perennial contenders. I like a few potential moves to boost the defense, like bringing in Ndamukong Suh.

I know, I know.

Suh can be a bit much, and he’s shuffled from place to place recently, but in the right scheme, he can be as disruptive a defender as there is in the league. 

I also like the idea of adding another target for Brees in the passing game. Michael Thomas is great, but his record this season was as much about lack of options as game day dominance. There will be a slew of experienced pass catchers on the market this offseason, should the Saints not want to spend their first-round pick on a speedster.  

Seriously Premature Draft Hunches

This draft class is loaded at wide receiver, and I think there will be more than a few potential all-pro pass catchers still on the board when New Orleans is on the clock.

My gut says that Tee Higgins from Clemson might still be around, and if he is, he’ll form a tremendous tandem with Michael Thomas.  Should Higgins be gone, perhaps the Saints might want to take a flyer on ASU’s Brandon Aiyuk, who’s a bit unpolished, but has a large frame and great instincts. He’ll be tough to cover in a man scheme at the next level at 6’, 205 lbs with 4.5 speed.   

For more thoughts and opinions from Tom, check out his author page.

Image Source: AP Images

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