CBS Sportsline’s Pete Prisco released his annual list of the top 50 NFL players (it is very heavy on skill position players), and the Saints are fairly well represented:
15. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints: He showed a lot skeptics -- including this writer -- that he wasn't just a product of the San Diego offense. He really fits with Saints coach Sean Payton's offense.
24. Jammal Brown, T, New Orleans Saints: His move from the right side to the left side was a smooth one. It earned him his first trip to the Pro Bowl. He will be there for a lot of years.
27. Will Smith, DE, New Orleans Saints: Without him, the Saints defense would be in big trouble. When the opposing offense puts up points, he pins his ears and attacks. He's a force off the edge.
Dulymus Jenod McAllister and Reggie Bush both just missed making the list.
Let’s tackle these one at a time.
Brees: I don’t disagree with Prisco’s overall rating, fifteen seems pretty fair. But his comment seems a bit dismissive: Brees "wasn't just a product of the San Diego offense. He really fits with Saints coach Sean Payton's offense." He wasn’t just a system quarterback in San Diego, he’s also a system quarterback in New Orleans. Right. I’ll just move on.
Brown: For those of you scoring at home, Prisco rated Brown as the second-best offensive lineman in the game, after only Seattle’s uber-tackle Walter Jones. I know Brown broke out last season, but the second-best offensive lineman in the game?
Smith: Seems about right. Smith had 10.5 sacks in 14 games last season. However, it’s difficult to discuss Smith’s value without acknowledging Charles Grant opposite him (Grant didn't appear on the list). Both are good enough to command double teams, so they really make each other better.
(Big ups to the AOL Fanhouse for pointing me at the article.)