NFL Free Agency 2013: Offensive Tackle Still a Mystery for the Saints

Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

The New Orleans Saints still have a big need to fill on offense, either now or later.

The New Orleans Saints have been busy filling their needs on defense during free agency and rightly so. But there is still one area on offense that really needs some attention as well.

The departure of Jermon Bushrod leaves a starting left tackle position wide open. The Saints do have Charles Brown and Marcel Jones that can play the position but don't get too comfortable. Both players have injury concerns.

Brown has struggled to stay healthy in his three seasons with the Saints and has been placed on injured reserve for two of those. Jones was a seventh round pick last year but ended up on injured reserve before the season started.

The Saints have shown interest in free agent tackle Byrant McKinnie, according to McKinnie himself, but nothing has come of this in the past few weeks. Of course if free agency isn't the time then the Saints could try to draft a replacement.

I've said this many times and will say it again, though: I just don't know if the Saints will be able to find a starter with the 15th pick. The consensus - and there is no guarantee when it comes to the Saints - is that they will use this pick to further rebuild the defense. Even if they could sneak a tackle in during the first round, my nerves would be on edge every week wondering if a rookie would be able to protect the Drew Brees' blindside. A veteran presence would be much more welcome.

Head coach Sean Payton said recently the one area of concern that keeps him up at night is the left tackle position. If they don't make a move soon, it'll probably cause some sleepless nights for Saints fans too, as they have nightmares of seeing Brees on the ground.

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