5 New Orleans Saints Players with Insanely Bright Futures
A team who once looked to be having a crash-and-burn season in the beginning, the New Orleans Saints have been fighting tooth and nail, out of their early 0-4 hole they put themselves in, to save their season as they attempt to make the playoffs.
The team seems to be hitting its stride as the season is winding down, improving in all facets of the game. The Saints have won four out of their last five games, and if they continue improving, they have a shot at the playoffs—a concept that seemed ridiculous just a few weeks ago.
Of course the team wouldn't be in this position if it weren't for some key contributors. Aside from the usual suspects, like Drew Brees and Marques Colston on offense, and Roman Harper on defense being major contributors, some younger players have rose to the occasion and have helped the Saints.
Let's take a look at some of those players that, judging by their performances this season, have a very bright future.
Tight End Jimmy Graham
The way Saints tight end Jimmy Graham has been playing, it's hard to believe he's been in the league for only three years.
The 6'7" tight end is already a superstar, and he has many more years ahead of him. He's been a major weapon for Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints offense.
Graham didn't do much damage his rookie season, but he exploded in his second year, being a part of one of the most prolific, record-breaking offenses in the NFL. He finished his second season with 99 receptions for 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns.
This season he has again been one of the main reasons why the Saints offensive unit has been successful. He is an unstoppable force in the red zone. So far, Graham has 45 receptions for 533 yards and seven touchdowns.
If he keeps up his production, Graham has a bright future and has the potential to break many records throughout his career.
Running Back Chris Ivory
I know it's a small sample size this season, and it's tough to pull ahead in an already crowded backfield, but I like what I've seen in the past two games from running back Chris Ivory.
Yes, he had a rough preseason with fumbling problems, but it was baffling why the Saints had him on the bench through their first seven games.
Ivory showed them that was a mistake in the last two games the Saints played, showing his power and agility running the ball. He has the ability to make big plays, as he showed in his 56-yard run last week against the Atlanta Falcons.
In just two games this season, he is averaging 7.1 yards per carry and has two touchdowns. In his three years in the league, he has averaged 5.2 yards per carry, gaining 1,210 yards on the ground with eight touchdowns.
Ivory has shown he has the potential to be a major contributor and a star running back if given the opportunity, either with the Saints or another team.
Defensive End Cameron Jordan
It's no secret the New Orleans Saints need a pass-rusher. In drafting defensive end Cameron Jordan, they were hoping to get a dominant pass-rusher.
In Cameron Jordan's second season, he has been a solid contributor to the defense. He has been key in the Saints' run defense. And although he's not a dominant force in the pass-rush, Jordan has the ability to make plays and either sack or pressure opposing quarterbacks.
This season so far, Jordan has recorded six sacks (three coming against the Philadelphia Eagles), has 38 tackles and two forced fumbles.
If Jordan can keep up his production, and work on his pass-rush, he will be one of the top defensive ends sooner or later in the NFL.
Defensive End Junior Galette
Another defensive end drafted by the New Orleans Saints with the intentions of improving their pass-rushing problems.
Junior Galette, in his third year in the league, has shown his pass-rushing abilities. Used as a situational pass-rusher, Galette has taken advantage of every opportunity that has been given to him.
The defensive end has the power and speed to be the dangerous edge rusher that he has shown he can be from time to time. In two seasons, and in the few snaps that he's played, he has recorded 8.5 sacks (four this season), one forced fumble and 37 tackles.
If Galette is given more snaps, he can be a major contributor to the Saints' defense and improve their pass-rushing problems.
The Saints may have found a gem, picking up the undrafted free agent three years ago.
Linebacker Curtis Lofton
The New Orleans Saints lucked out when they signed linebacker Curtis Lofton in the offseason.
Lofton is a hard-working, versatile football player that is a major contributor to the Saints defense. He has a knack for making big plays and always being around the ball. This season, his first as a Saints player, he leads the team with 86 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble.
He's a leader and a play-making, tackling machine that will be an integral part of the Saints' defense for a long time.