New Orleans Saints: Predicting Statistical Seasons for Every 2011 Draft Pick
We live in a world where statistics matter. A person's worth seems to be caught up in this vital information. How tall are you? How much money do you have in your bank account? How many children do you have?
Well obviously in sports we see this identified even more. A player's worth is 100 percent about the numbers they put up. How many home runs? What's his ERA? How many points does he average per game? How many goals did he score?
In football, where statistics are seemingly the least relevant, a statistical revolution is slowly but surely taking place as well. Players today are identified and evaluated by their statistics more than any generation of players the league has ever seen.
And since that seems to be the wave of the future for evaluating players, let's take a few moments to predict what kind of stats the Saints' rookies will put up in 2011.
Cameron Jordan, Defensive End
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The very fact that Will Smith is almost certain to miss the first four games of the 2011 campaign necessitates Jordan to be a contributor from Day 1. There is no honeymoon for Jordan. He must come in and play like Will Smith.
This will be difficult though since the former Cal Bear is much more similar to Alex Brown than Smith. Last season Jordan racked up an astounding 62 tackles (most for a Cal defensive linemen) and 12.5 of those were for a loss. He also added 5.5 sacks.
For a 3-4 defensive end those are monster numbers. But those are college numbers where Jordan was far superior to most of the offensive tackles he played against.
As a rookie, he likely won't be able to say that he is superior to any of the o-linemen he faces.
And because of the way the Saints play their defense, it is unlikely that any defensive lineman is going to wrap up a high percentage of the team's tackles. Instead, those honors will go to Jon Vilma and Roman Harper most days.
Because of those factors, and this, I would be surprised to see Jordan accumulate more than 30 tackles or three sacks this season. And the truth is that he's probably doing his job if he doesn't.
Mark Ingram, Running Back
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I expect Ingram to accumulate 160 carries for 800 yards and five touchdowns. He will also catch the ball 20 times for about 150 yards, and one touchdown.
Martez Wilson, Linebacker
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According to nfldraftscout.com, Wilson was the best inside linebacker in this draft class. But he will likely be playing outside in the Saints scheme. I incorrectly labeled him as a guy who isn't much of a playmaker.
Truthfully, Wilson is much more of a playmaker than I ever thought, as he recorded over 100 tackles, four sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception just to name a few of his gaudy stats.
If Wilson is able to win the job starting alongside Vilma and Scott Shanle, I would fully expect Wilson to rack up approximately 100 tackles, with two sacks, two forced fumbles (mainly because the Saints practice creating them) and an interception.
And if Wilson is able to do that, he may be in line for the defensive rookie of the year.
Johnny Patrick, Defensive Back
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As I noted here, Patrick is much better playing off the receiver and coming forward to make plays on the ball.
Occasionally, Gregg Williams will call nickel defenses that allow his defensive backs to do just that. Because of that, I am almost certain that Patrick will step in front of some rookie QB's unfortunate pass and pick it off, and depending where he is on the field, he might just go all the way.
Aside from that, I do expect Patrick to pick up a pancake block on special teams, and add 10 or so nice tackles in the punt/kick coverage game.
Greg Romeus, Defensive End
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It is somewhat possible that Romeus could be Batman to Cameron Jordan's reprisal of Robin's role.
If Romeus can gain a spot on the Saints' roster, he could see the field early and often in pass rush situations. Romeus is a quick and dynamic pass rusher.
Because of his specialization, I don't expect Romeus to be on the field enough to wrap up large tackle numbers—I predict no more than 20. But I do think he can bring down the quarterback at least five times.
If he does that, Romeus would have a successful rookie season.
Nate Bussey, Linebacker
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As I mentioned here, Bussey is a great athlete. He is explosive, yet under weight. Because of this, I don't expect him to see a lot of time on defense.
But Bussey should excel on special teams with his excessive motor. I say he records over 20 special teams tackles in 2011, and becomes one of the better special teams players in the league.
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I feel like I've been very optimistic with my predictions. Unfortunately, it is possible not every player on this list will even play on game day—or at all—for the Saints in 2011. That is because the Saints are so stinking talented at every position.
Second, it really won't matter a whole lot whether these predictions come true, because as long as Drew Brees is wearing black and gold the Saints will at least stay competitive. He's just that good.