I've read numerous critiques on Brian de la Puente being overwhelmed this year as our starting Center, and that the Saints should use a mid level draft pick on a new Center. I'm not sure where the idea that Brian de la Puente had such an underachieving year came from, but let's look at the facts. According to Pro Football Focus, Brian graded out as the 2nd best overall Center in the NFL with a grade of +23.0 behind only Minnesota's John Sullivan. Brian graded out positively in all 4 categories (Pass Blocking: +5.6, Run Blocking: +13.6, Screen Blocking: +2.5, and Penalty: +1.3), committed only 3 penalties all year, and allowed only 2 sacks and 10 QB hurries in 16 games. If anything, Brian had an elite year as a Pro Center. As a comparison, Pro Bowl Center, Chris Myers, allowed a similar 2 sacks and 8 QB hurries.
While having a strong year as a pass blocker, de la Puente really excelled as a run blocker, as indicated by his +13.6 grade. With this score, Brian graded out as the 7th best run blocking Center in Pro football. He also graded out as the 7th best pass blocking Center in Pro football. Although being ranked as a top 10 player in both categories is in itself enough of an argument to refute those who believe Brian was overwhelmed this year, his grade was raised above the likes of Mike Pouncey, Max Unger, and Nick Mangold because of his abilities in the screen game and lack of penalties.
The kid has earned the right to be Drew's starting Center for minimally 2013, if not for years to come.