It all went terribly bad quickly on a bad, bad, terrible night in Viking land.
Shades of Brett Favre and the 2009 NFC Championship game haunted this game when comparing how the franchises seem to be going in opposite directions. Even memories of the famous kick by Garrett Hartley could not make this game palatable.
Not only was the loss of Zach Strief and Terron Armstead felt but Max Unger and Larry Warford both struggled mightily according to Profootball Focus (PFF) stats. The run game was non-existent (Adrian Peterson–come on down) and the loss of Willie Snead was felt. Most players stayed in on offense to protect Brees leaving precious few wide receivers against the Vikings secondary.
The New Orleans Saints selected Al-Quadin Muhammad with their last pick of the 2017 NFL draft. There was faint expectation for this pick given its position in the draft but the Saints, who never fail to surprise, pulled off a bit of an upset with the selection of Al-Quadin Muhammad.
His ESPN draft profile reads like a dream for a pass rusher.
Pass Rush Skills
Shoots hand inside and jacks up blockers with initial punch. Above average initial quickness and flashes ability to win with speed to power. Tracks quarterback as he works upfield and sheds in proper direction. Average bend and adequate closing speed. Room for improvement when it comes to double and quick inside moves. Appears to have long arms and gets hands up when doesn’t get to the quarterback.
Versus the run
Flashes ability to shoot gaps and disrupt plays in the backfield. Lean lower body and gets overwhelmed at times but does a better job of setting edge than other edge defenders with similar size. Strong and plays with good pad level for the most part. Shoots hands inside and stacks much bigger blockers though needs to shed quicker at times. Effective wrap-up tackler between the tackles. Some tightness in hips and concerned about ability to regularly make open field tackles. Good effort and sound angles but quicker than fast and struggles to chase down backs on a straight-line.
Ideally fills out frame but best long-term projection is at LDE. That said he is a 3-4OLB candidate with experience lining up in two-point stance and off the line. High-cut and more effective attacking upfiield but has experience dropping and has enough range to hold up in underneath coverage.
Plays with a chip on shoulder and good fight taking on bigger blockers. Relentless would be an overstatement but good effort chasing the run and average to slightly above average effort rushing the passer. Flashes ability to fight through double teams.
Al-Quadin Muhammad’s issues off the field have hampered his ability to develop on the field. He has missed two of the past three seasons because of a suspension and dismissal. The University of Miami suspended him for the 2014 season after he allegedly punched a former student in the face in the Hard Rock Stadium parking lot. Al-Quadin Muhammad was dismissed from the team because the university believed a Miami Beach car dealership gave him free use of an exotic car, which is an NCAA violation.
The New Orleans Saints made a surprise selection in the third round of the NFL draft when they selected linebacker Alex Anzalone.
This was a highly anticipated pick by Saints watchers who expected the Saints to select a pass rusher ranked as a round two or three selection in a very deep defensive draft. Instead they choose a linebacker buoying up the belief the team believes in its free agent pass rusher, Alex Okafor. What did they see in Anzalone to make this selection?
The oft-injured Anzalone is believed to possess first rate football skills. In the Saints opinion, he is the only linebacker in the draft who excelled at all three linebacking positions as well as in pass protection. Has good lateral movement and can burst into an alley.
Mike Detillier described his style of tackling as “Attacks ballcarriers like they stole something from him as a kid.” He is a smart player who is rarely caught out of position. Locker room leader who other players listened to.
Our Lads states “Shows man-to-man skill with the ability to mirror cuts and stay in phase with a back or tight end up the field.” Thinking about a 6 foot, 3 inches, 241 linebacker lining up against running backs and tights ends in the NFC South does my heart good. Physically gifted but has arms and needs to improve his technique against quality blocking.
The New Orleans Saints finally selected a pass rusher in the third round of the NFL draft by taking Trey Hendrickson who had the highest pass-rushing productivity in the nation. He also led the nation in blocked kicks.
Mike Mayock: “I like this guy. Daniel Jeremiah and I showed up at the East-West Shrine Game and we both kind of went nuts over this guy. Six-four, 266, he sticks his hand in the dirt and boy does he come after people. And then what I really liked — people say he has short arms and bla bla bla — but then he went to the combine and tested extremely well. So you’ve got an effort motor guy with really good measurables, except for the short arms. And all I’m telling you is New Orleans needs to affect the pass game and he’s going to be one of those guys that can stick his hand in the dirt or stand up depending on what they need.”
Mel Kiper Jr. compared new Saints DE Trey Hendrickson to Rob Ninkovich. If that proves to be true, it'd be a steal for the Saints.
The New Orleans Saints traded up to acquire Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara with the 67th pick of the 2017 NFL draft.
The Saints had to trade back into the second round to nab Kamara by giving up their 2018 2nd round pick and this year’s 7th round pick to the San Francisco 49ers. Sean Payton has a specific vision for Kamara who will join Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson in the backfield. The Saints conducted a private workout for Kamara during the draft process. Payton envisions Kamara as a Reggie Bush/Darren Sproles type of player who can also field kicks. Kamara was one of four team captains selected last spring.
Kamara led the Tennessee Volunteers with 127 yards and two touchdowns, eight catches for 161 yards and another TD, in addition to a 16-yard kick return in a 45-38 double-overtime loss to Texas A&M. The 312 yards represented a single-game record for Tennessee and put Kamara on NFL draft radar.
The New Orleans Saints select Offensive Tackle Ryan Ramczyk with the 32nd pick of the first round of the 2017 NFL draft.
What at first was, to me, a ho hum, ever-so-safe pick became more exciting as the night wore on. Coach Sean Payton divulged the grade placed on Ramczyk by the Saints organization. The Saints had Ramczyk slotted in the top tier of the first round at a position they wished to fill. The gap between the Ramczyk grade and other, defensive player grades was sufficient enough to warrant the pick in the first round.
“Our grade on Ryan was at the top half of round one, inside of a grade of 15,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “He was a player graded in the first round by every one of our scouts.” If the Saints had waited until a later round, the draft would not have yielded many promising picks at offensive tackle.
The Saints made it clear they expected to draft an offensive tackle but most analysts (including me) thought they would draft one later given Drew Brees‘ ability to make life relatively easy for an offensive tackle. (Perhaps, the Saints are moving back toward dominant offensive line play reminiscent of the days when they regularly garnered the Madden award for Most Valuable Protectors in 2009 and 2011). Continue reading “Saints Select Offensive Tackle Ryan Ramczyk”→
New Orleans Saints 2017 Draft kicks off on Thursday. Nothing could be riskier business than Draft Day One where players are chosen who should be starters in their first year.
And the Saints have two such choices. They are looking for two impact players at selections 11 and 32.
Day One Draft Pick #11 – The Saints will select …
Let’s consider what positions the Saints will seek to fill and who will likely be available. Positions: The Saints history has been to select a skill position in the first round. Given this dynamic, I would expect them to lean toward the defensive skill position such as defensive line or defensive back and, perhaps, linebacker. It depends upon who is there.
The following rankings are based on an amalgam of draft analyses:
Would the Saints favor defensive line over defensive back for the 11th selection? Philosophically, I would say “Yes”. An edge rusher is more likely to speed up a quarterback thus making the cornerback’s job easier. A fantastic corner can cover but only cover so long when a quarterback has more time. Therefore, I believe the Saints will tend to favor a defensive lineman first and then draft a cornerback with the 32nd pick. There is a very deep cornerback class in this draft. Given this, I believe the Saints can wait on a cornerback.
Gather round as we look at each week of the New Orleans Saints 2017 Season Schedule.
The Saints will not play a team coming off of a bye week this season.
Week 1: Traveling up to Minnesota will be a good test for the 2017 Saints team. Teddy Bridgewater may not be back as the starter for the Viking which means Sam Bradford will lead the team in week one. The Saints will see alums Tom Johnson and Khai Forbath in action. The Vikings were 8 and 8 last year; falling down in the second half of the season after a promising start. Vikings head coach, Mike Zimmer, is a player’s coach, and his guys will play hard for him. If the Saints round up into a better team defensively, there is every reason to expect they can walk away a winner from this game.
Week 2:New England Patriots visit New Orleans, and it will be the dome coming for Brandin Cooks. Perhaps, there will be a little bit of drama if Malcolm Butler signs with the Saints. Nevertheless, this will be a tough game for the Saints–playing against the Super Bowl champions. It must be remembered, though, each NFC South team will play the Patriots, and if each team loses to New England, the game will be a net neutral game in the advancing in the division. Atlanta Falcons will have a bye week, and then host Miami before traveling to New England to play the Patriots. Carolina Panthers will play them in Foxborough after having played at San Francisco, hosting Buffalo, and hosting the Saints. Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play them at home after playing at Miami, hosting Chicago, playing in Minnesota, and hosting the New York Giants. None of these dynamics bode well for any other NFC South team to win against the Patriots.