The New Orleans Saints went 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the first time in four seasons. The team's offense was still one of the best in the NFL, but the defense ranked dead last, giving up nearly 60 yards per game more than any other team in the league.
It's a season that will be remembered for the bounty accusations, which ultimately led to head coach Sean Payton sitting out the entire campaign. The impact the entire ordeal had on the team is likely a major reason it didn't reach expectations.
Payton will return next season and should bring a sense of normalcy back to the franchise. That said, there are definitely some weaknesses that must be addressed in the offseason if they want to make a return to the postseason in 2013.
With that in mind, let's examine each area of the Saints' roster and explore where they should focus their available resources in the coming months. There's no doubt it's going to be a very important draft cycle for New Orleans if it wants to bounce back right away.