Since this site premiered during the final mini-camp, leaving me unable to participate in the orgiastic hype of the NFL offseason, I thought I would consolidate all of the player-movement updates that I have heretofore missed into one massive post. Think of this as the "hour-after Thanksgiving dinner" link-dump.
There will be three main sections: Draft, Free Agency, and Miscellany. As always, your comments are certainly appreciated, particularly if I missed something.
Draft: The Saints' picks in the 2007 Draft (starred players are under contract):
- Robert Meachem, WR, Tennessee (Round 1, Pick 27, click here for a fantastic article on Meachem)
- Usama Young, CB, Kent State (Round 3, Pick 2)*
- Andy Alleman, OG, Akron (Round 3, Pick 25*
- Antonio Pittman, RB, Ohio State (Round 4, Pick 107)
- Jermon Bushford, OT, Towson State (Round 4, Pick 26)
- David Jones, CB, Wingate (Round 5, Pick 8)*
- Marvin Mitchell, LB, Tennessee (Round 7, Pick 10)
Panning the Hype Machines: This "article" provides a nice recap of how nine talking heads graded the Saints' draft. At best the pundits viewed the Saints' draft as solid, at worst it was mediocre. The grades ranged from a B to a C. Their cumulative GPA was a 2.6--lowest in the overachieving NFC South, but 0.1 behind NFC East leader Dallas, and 0.08 behind the class average. There was no curve. Some highlights:
Paul Zimmerman, of Sports Illustrated, graded the Saints draft as a C (the lowest grade the team received). His analysis, however, was tangential, uninsightful, and showed a stunning lack of preparation:
We are so sophisticated now that size and speed numbers, such as WR Robert Meachem's 6-2, 215 and 4.39, which would have, at one time, left us positively flabbergasted, are merely taken for granted. "Must be able to shake the coverage," we murmur, and that's what I hear about Meachem, their No. 1 pick.
Dr. Z also questioned the selection of Antonio Pittman.
Pete Prisco, of CBS Sportsline, rated the Saints draft as a solid B. His redundant analysis:
I like Robert Meachem in the first round, but third-round pick Usama Young might have been a reach in the third round.
Prisco also said that Alleman was the team's best move, while not selecting a defensive tackle may have been the worst.
Finally, Mel Kiper, the loudest of ESPN's loud bunch, gave the Saints a B-. He noted that:
New Orleans went with Robert Meachem, the best available player on the board. The Saints weren't desperate for a wide receiver, but this was still a good pick.
Kiper also believed that Young was a reach, while Alleman provided good value.
From the looks of it, the "experts" all agreed with the selection of Robert Meachem. Andy Alleman was also seen as a good pick. Meanwhile, Usama Young was viewed as a bit of a head-scratcher.
Free Agency: The Saints were active in free agency, filling a number of holes, and retaining some important players.
Names to Remember:
- Jason David, CB - David is a 5'8" cornerback, formerly of the Indianapolis Colts. He registered 55 tackles in 2006, along with 2 interceptions (he has 8 over a three-year career). David is a good athlete, though without elite speed. He should work well as a second corner opposite Mike McKenzie, and provides a major upgrade over Fred Thomas.
- Eric Johnson, TE - Johnson is a 6'3", 250 lb tight-end, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers. He caught 34 passes, for 292 yards, in 2006, but is one-year-removed from an 82 reception, 825 yard season. Johnson should be a weapon in the Saints offense, providing them with a big, athletic target over the middle of the field, and in the red zone. He is not a great blocker, nor is he particularly durable.
- Brian Simmons, LB - Simmons is a 6'3", 244 lb linebacker, formerly of the Cincinnati Bengals. Though he missed five weeks, he still recorded 61 tackles, including 3 for loss, and 2 interceptions. Simmons is a fast, athletic linebacker. When healhy, he is a formidable defensive player.
Other Notable Additions:
Names to Remember:
- Joe Horn, WR - Horn's number 87 jersey will remain ubiquitous among Saints fans, despite the fact that he will be plying his trade in Atlanta. He was the team's most popular player before Hurricane Katrina, and the player who best exemplified the spirit of New Orleans throughout his tenure. When healthy, Horn can still be a very productive receiver. He will be missed.
- Michael Lewis, KR - Lewis, also known as the "Beer Man", was one of the most popular players on the team. A New Orleans native, the thirty-five year-old Lewis drove a beer delivery truck before signing with the Saints in 2000. He was a Pro Bowler in 2002, and is the team's all-time leader in many statistical categories.
Other Notable Departures:
- Charles Grant, DE - Grant signed a 7 year contract that could be worth up to $63 million. Although Grant is a productive player, he will turn 29 during the season, so don't expect him to finish the contract.
Other Notable Retentions:
Reggie Bush, video vixen.
Reggie Bush, Video Vixen.
Drew Brees, prisoner number 9.
Rumors of the demise of satire have been greatly exaggerated (hopefully).
Rumors of the demise of sports journalism have also been greatly exaggerated.