Saints should take advantage of this year’s NFL Draft

Personal Opinion By: Rachel Klaus, Sports Editor

The National Football League’s annual draft is among us again and it is time for the New Orleans Saints to take advantage of the nine picks they will be given.

The Saints were 7-9 last season and were not eligible for the playoffs, to most fans that is simply unacceptable. The defense ranked 31st in total defense, however the offense ranked first in total offense. The Saints have a lot of veterans on the team, but the need for signing younger players should be the goal.

So far this offseason, the team has already made some gutsy, but meaningful trades. Perhaps the most eyebrow-raising call was trading Pro Bowl tight-end Jimmy Graham and offensive lineman Ben Grubbs.

Graham was traded for Pro Bowl center Max Unger from the Seattle Seahawks. Last year, Graham signed a contract worth $40 million that made him one of the highest paid tight ends in the league. Ben Grubbs was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs and in return the Saints got a fifth round pick. Let’s not forget wide receiver Kenny Stills being traded to the Miami Dolphins for linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and a third round pick.

I was sad to see Graham go, but I think it was worth it. He didn’t play as well as he had been in previous years. His trade opens many opportunities for the Saints. Grubbs was very good for the Saints, but his injuries only slowed down the offensive line’s production.

One might say that the weakness was the defense, but I think the Saints’ biggest weakness was the offensive line. Too many linemen were either hurt or unproductive. No one can control injuries, but the theory is there was not enough salary cap space to sign healthy linemen. If I were General Manager Mickey Loomis, I would draft an offensive lineman in the first round.

Their next priority would be signing a linebacker and with the departure of Curtis Lofton, the Saints need to fill that position early. Drew Brees is 35-years-old and is still one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, however I think it is time for the Saints to start looking for a replacement.

Nine picks can give the Saints an advantage over the other 31 teams in the league. It is an opportunity that should not be taken lightly. This year’s draft class may not be as talented as 2014’s, but it will still hold plenty of talent that needs a place to call home. I think the Saints need to go all in on for this year’s draft. They are already a step ahead with the off season trades, but there is still a lot of room for negotiations. Most forget that the NFL is more of a business than pleasure and the Who Dats need to get down to business and worry about pleasure later. If the Saints sign the “dream team,” I am not saying that they will go to Super Bowl 50, but they might make an appearance in years to come.