With the bulk of the offseason over and Training Camp quickly approaching, it's time to start looking at the Saints' roster and just how competitive they could be during the 2014 season. While this might not be the best indicator of a team's future success, it is good to get an idea of the type of players that we will be seeing game-by-game.
Lucky for us (especially myself), Pat Kirwan has laid out a number of questions that fans -- or even a team's management -- can ask themselves when trying to discover just how good their team is. You can find the full article here.
According to Kirwan, his top two teams when it comes to roster depth are the Seattle Seahawks and the Cincinnati Bengals. The Seahawks, as we all know, were crowned champions of the world after the 2013 season, but the Bengals would get ousted by the sixth-seed Chargers in the Wild Card round in the AFC flight of the playoffs. Interestingly enough, the Saints weren't even in his honorable mention teams, which included the Washington Redskins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, and San Francisco 49ers. On the contrary, Evan Silva, an editor for Rotoword (shoutout to Stujo), believes the Saints have the fourth-best roster in the NFL.
Now what these two guys say obviously means next to nothing in the grand scheme of things. But the topic of "Which NFL teams actually have deep rosters?" definitely makes for an interesting offseason debate. With that said, let's begin with Kirwan's first roster-depth question.
Does your team have a real swing offensive tackle, a guy that can play left or right tackle and has experience?
After looking at the Saints' current viable offensive tackle participants on the depth chart, which include Terron Armstead, Ty Nsekhe, Tavon Rooks, Zach Strief, Marcel Jones, and Bryce Harris, I was ready to give the team a big fat "no". However, I decided to take a longer look as to just who I was dealing with.
As far as experience goes, Armstead, Strief, and Harris are the only offensive tackles on the Saints' roster that have even played in a regular season matchup. Therefore, the remaining tackles can immediately be eliminated. Next comes the tougher question, who has experience as a 'swing' offensive tackle? Well, at the NFL level, none of these guys do. Terron Armstead has strictly played left tackle so far in his short career and both Strief and Harris have been placed on the right side. What you might not know, however, is that while at Fresno State, where he was a three-year starter for the Bulldogs, Bryce Harris was an All-WAC left tackle. Even though this might seem like a loophole, Harris does have quality experience at the left tackle position as well as at his current on the right.
You might be asking yourself, "Why in the hell is this important for the Saints' long-term success?" Well, just take a look at this depth chart provided to us by Ourlads. The way it reads, if Terron Armstead goes down on the left at some point this season due to injury, his immediate backup is slated to be Ty Nsekhe, who is just about as famous as rookie tackle Tavon Rooks. That is very concerning and I would rather him not be protecting our Hall of Fame quarterback's blind side. But now that most of us have learned something new, that is where Bryce Harris comes in! Even though his normal position is at right tackle as opposed to the left, I would be willing to bet that the Saints' brain trust would bring Harris in to the rescue if that scenario were to unfold. He has proven himself to be a serviceable backup when needed and could get the job done.
Well, so far so good with this series! Check back soon with a continuation of our look at just how deep the Saints' roster actually is.