With eyes pointing ahead to the 2018 regular season, we’re going to go over the Top 10 Most Important New Orleans Saints for the upcoming season. To view Part 1, click here. Without further adieu, here are 6-10:
5. CB Marshon Lattimore
The 2018 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year looks to be a future lockdown corner for a long time in the NFL. With Lattimore’s ability to shut down an opposing team’s #1 WR, it allows the Saints to only worry about the other team’s second and third receiving options. If Lattimore were to get hurt, it could force someone like De’Vante Harris back into the starting lineup for the Saints defense - and we know what happens when Harris takes the field.
4. WR Michael Thomas
You’ll see that the recurring theme with the “most important” players on the Saints is depth. If Lattimore were to get hurt, Ken Crawley and Patrick Robison see more time, but that pushes a backup (De’Vante Harris, PJ Williams, etc) into the rotation. If Michael Thomas were to miss time, 33 year old Ted Ginn Jr. becomes more important in the Saints offense. Brandon Coleman would have to finally take advantage of all of this natural ability. And, most importantly, Cameron Meredith would have to be fully healthy in order to step up in Thomas’s absence. Beyond Michael Thomas are a lot of question marks.
3. DE Cameron Jordan
The whole reason the Saints mortgaged part of the future in trading away next year’s first round pick to draft Marcus Davenport was to provide help for Cameron Jordan. The Saints have not had a quality edge rusher opposite Cam since belt-wielder-who-shall-not-be-named. That has allowed opposing offensive lines to focus on Jordan and double-team him on the line or add chip blocks with Tight Ends or Running Backs. Jordan was finally able to make his first Pro Bowl in 2017 in spite of a lack of consistent help on the defensive line, and has been Mr. Reliable for the Saints, playing in all 16 games in each of his 7 seasons in New Orleans. If he were to finally succumb to an injury, the Saints defensive line could be in trouble.
2. RB Alvin Kamara
With Mark Ingram suspended for the first four games of 2018, the Running Back options behind Kamara leave a lot to be desired. Even with the addition of Terrance West (who is far from guaranteed to make the team, in spite of his new contract), Kamara is the only known commodity in the backfield for New Orleans. the 2017 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year is the #1 rushing option in New Orleans in 2018, but is also the #2 receiving option behind Michael Thomas. If Kamara were to go down to injury, the entire offense would struggle.
1. QB Drew Brees
If Kamara were to go down, the Saints offense would struggle. If Drew Brees were to miss time, the Saints offense would be non-existent. Make no mistake about it: the presence of Kamara and Ingram does not make this a run-first team. This team will still live and die on the golden arm of Drew Brees. Brees is a future Hall of Famer, arguably one of the Top 5 greatest Quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. Taysom Hill? Tom Savage? JT Barrett? Don’t make me laugh.
So, there you have it. That’s the full list of the Top 10 Most Important Saints for 2018. Do you disagree? What would your top 10 be? Let us know in the comments.