While the Saints’ offensive production was again prolific this season, issues with pass protection stood out in numerous contests. Teams with strong defensive lines—such as the Panthers Rams and Jets—exploited the New Orleans front line and exerted relentless pressure on quarterback Drew Brees.
The left tackle position was perhaps the most glaring weakness along the Saints offensive front, as starter Charles Brown was benched with two games remaining in the season in favor of rookie Terron Armstead. Even if Armstead emerges in the playoffs, the Saints could also benefit from a significant upgrade at the right tackle slot, where Zach Strief was by no means reliable.
In addition to New Orleans' offensive line, another area in need of attention is that of wide receiver. None of New Orleans’ top three pass-catchers are wideouts this season. If the Saints are to fare better in future endeavors against the defensive back-laden Seattle Seahawks, they need to improve their athleticism at the wide receiver position.
On the defensive side, upgrades in the secondary would do a lot to tighten up an already formidable unit.
Fortunately for New Orleans, this year’s draft is heavy with offensive linemen, wide receivers and cornerbacks. Even if they advance deep into the playoffs, the Saints should be able to bring in top-shelf talent at those three positions of need.
Following are eight draft prospects who can fill the Saints’ biggest offseason needs. The prospects are ranked in ascending order based on their ability to help the Saints next season. Offensive linemen come first, since that’s the team’s biggest area of need, followed by receivers and cornerbacks.