Like all of you, I'm tired of the mess of this off season. So let's look ahead. Some of the names will be obvious, but I'm just in the mood to talk anything having to do with actual football. These are listed in no particular order.
2) Patrick Robinson: When he was drafted, I was excited about him but was very disappointed in his rookie season. He has seemed to improve in his second season. I hope he's ready to be an undisputed starting corner in the NFL. Only time will tell if he is truly ready to be the guy. But he is extremely important to the success of the Saints in 2012.
3) Jimmy Graham: His season in 2011 was so unreal that we can only hope he comes anywhere close to duplicating it. He will get plenty of attention in 2012 and hope his body can hold up to the beating he is bound to take. When an 80 catch season is expected from your 3rd year TE, he qualifies as important by default.
4) Lance Moore: I decided just now that I want to keep Colston off of this list. Because unless Colston is hurt, it's easy to expect 75 catches from him. Moore brings something to the offense that Drew needs. Lance Moore has excellent hands and if he can stay healthy, I'm excited to see increased playing time coming his way. Could have a Wes Welker type of season if injuries at RB get in the way. And he's an excellent target to compliment Colston on 3rd down.
5) Pierre Thomas: Darren Sproles is extremely explosive and became one of my favorite Saints players the second we signed him. I loved watching that guy in San Diego and wasn't at all disappointed by his production with us. I think Pierre is the best all around prototypical RB on this team. If he stays healthy and gets 15+ carries per game, great things can happen. I'd like to see Ingram and Ivory take more of a developmental back seat this season, but that is probably wishful thinking.In a season where Payton is gone, PT could be a key piece to the offensive puzzle.
6) Darren Sproles: Duplicate 2012. Easier said than done. But Darren is in the prime of his career. I'd love to see PT and Sproles on the field 80-90% of the time. Both are dangerous in different ways and both have good hands out of the back field.
7) Brodrick Bunkley: The Sedrick Ellis era is most likely heading towards the end of the road. Bunkley has to be next in line to take over the big duty of being THE DT of the Saints. He's being paid bigger than Rogers and Franklin were paid last year, so I can only hope we don't strike out on this one. Stopping the run is something that has to be done more consistently. Part of our season rides on this guy.
8) Curtis Lofton: This was the signing that I jumped up and down for. I worry about his pass defense, but I feel like we added a nice piece to help us eliminate the run. The man gets in on plays. Any plays. Anything short of 100+ tackles would be a bummer for me because I believe he has that potential. If he performs at that level, he could be a serious anchor for our defense for years to come.
9) Cam Jordan: You're a 1st round pick. Time to break out. This is a team desperate for a pass rush from its front 4. With Smith facing another suspension and uncertainties as to who will play where on the front 4, Jordan needs to be the consistent piece to the puzzle.
10) David Hawthorne: I consider this guy to be the wild card of the defense. 7 INTs in 3 seasons and 3 straight 100+ tackle seasons. If he plays well, this could easily be a top 10 defense all around. It's been a while since we have had a talented OLB on this roster. If he performs to expectation, the Saints defense can be a problem this year.
So who are your most important guys to success in 2012? i chose to hold out Brees, Colston, and Evans since you know what you're gonna get out of those guys. So fire away.