NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 26: Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates with his offensive line after throwing a nine-yard touchdown pass break the single-season passing record in the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Ryan Van Bibber of SBNation.com has been releasing his preseason rankings for various positions over the past few weeks. From what I can tell quarterback is the only position he hasn't finished up but I'm tired of waiting. Additionally, I figure with Brees being Brees, he should rank pretty high on the list.
So here's a quick review of how the Saints rank in regards to the OL, TE, WR, and RB positions according to RVB. Join me after the jump to add your comments of his rankings.
I would like to add, before I get too far, that I do not put a lot of stock in these power rankings. No offense to Mr. Van Bibber, but we don't even have a final roster to base a lot of these opinions on. The Saints happen to be a team that is pretty locked in with their offensive starters, however, so ranking them should have been easy.
Anyway here's where he's placed the Saints, just click on the positional heading before each quote to go to his list:
No Carl Nicks, no problem. The Saints managed to find the cap space to add Ben Grubbs to a tough middle line. One reason they can afford to pay Drew Brees $40 million this year is because he allows them to skate by with a left tackle like Jermon Bushrod.
I was a little surprised they landed here with the loss of Nicks; but according to Mr. Van Bibber, the Saints pickup of Ben Grubbs is sufficient to fill his role. His comment about Bushrod sounds something an ex might have said during a break up. You know what I mean, something like, "I just want to be friends." or maybe, "It's not you, it's me." Yeah I remember some girl told me that once, and me being the bigger person, I called her parents to let them know their daughter should probably seek therapy. I mean if she's got too many issues to be with me then she needs professional help because my standards were pretty low at the time.
Ranking the Saints receivers feel strange since they use weapons like Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles as such a big part of their passing game. Marques Colston gets unfairly written off as a product of the system here. He has five seasons of more than 1,000 yards in six years, and the Saints inked him to a five-year, $40 million deal before he even got a whiff of free agency. They round out the group with Devery Henderson and Lance Moore. Rookie Nick Toon has the size and hands to be a factor right away.
Top Option: Marques Colston
Okay, now I personally disagree with his opinion of the Saints receivers on several levels. First of all, there is no top option in the Saints passing game. Yes, Colston is considered WR1, but Brees is going to throw to whoever is open. I suppose he did address the problem with ranking our receiving corps high by mentioning Graham and Sproles, but what he probably never even considered is including everyone as part of the receiving corps. Yes, they represent a different particular position, but if they're decent at catching a football Brees will target them. He's also ranking other teams higher based on the rookies they picked up. I just can't see putting stock in an unproven commodity. Feels too much like buying stock in a tire company with the words "May Pop" in its name.
Gronk better not get too chill, because Jimmy Graham is going to give him a run for his money as the NFL's top tight end. With Drew Brees locked up as the Saints quarterback, Graham will put up some very impressive numbers.
Now we're talking! Of course the Saints would rank high thanks to Jimmy Graham's performance last season, but I have to play devil's advocate as usual. Who do the Saints have behind Graham? David Thomas is back on the roster, but he's never had a true breakout season and with his concussion injuries from last year you have to wonder how effective he'll be. After Thomas the Saints have Michael Higgins and Jake Byrne. Higgins filled in a little last year and contributed a whopping 4 yards to the Saints record breaking season and Byrne has been dubbed as a blocking TE. So maybe the Saints should pack Graham's pads with bubble wrap to keep him safe and warm.
3. New Orleans Saints
Darren Sproles led the bunch with an average of 6.9 yards per carry, and his 86 receptions were second on the team. Pierre Thomas topped five yards per carry. Watch for a healthy Mark Ingram to add even more pop to this unit. Plagued by injuries, the talented Chris Ivory could be the odd man out this year.
The Saints' Hydra of running backs was one of the more impressive offensive features in the league last season.
He's right on the money here. New Orleans ranked 6th in rushing yards per game with mainly Thomas and Sproles for most of the season. I would never have guessed Ingram actually carried the ball as many times as he did, but according to the stats sheet he did. I can only imagine with Ingram's foot surgery and the proper amount of time to heal the Saints running game can only improve this season.
While I realize power rankings are strictly opinion, I find comfort in knowing people still consider New Orleans an offensive juggernaut loaded with talent. Other than my personal concerns with the tight end position I think the offense will be as effective as last year. Now if Spags can get the defense in order the team will be Superbowl bound!