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New Orleans Saints currently considered in bottom third of the NFL

Wait, what?

NFL: SEP 19 Saints at Panthers Photo by Dannie Walls/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints were one win away from making the playoffs last year with a 9-8 record. They did this with four different starting quarterbacks with Jameis Winston going down for the season early, Trevor Siemian losing the starting job, Taysom Hill missing a game due to injury, and rookie Ian Book forced to step in for a game. The Saints were also without former Offensive Player of the Year WR Michael Thomas and Pro Bowl kicker Wil Lutz for the entire season. For various portions of the year, the Saints were without QB1, QB2, RB1, RB2, RB3, WR1, WR2, WR3, TE1, TE2, LT, LG, RT, DT1, DE1, DE2, DE3, LB2, CB1, CB3, Slot Corner, and Kicker.

That’s a mighty long list, and the Saints are reportedly healthy and expecting all of these players back and ready to go for 2022. In addition, the Saints have added first round WR Chris Olave out of Ohio State to the offense and will have a full season of Dennis Allen at head coach (after he shut out Tom Brady and Buccaneers for a game as head coach last season).

But still, Bleacher Report released their post-draft power rankings, and the New Orleans Saints came in in the bottom third of the NFL:

21. New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints have had quite the eventful offseason.

The Saints were in the thick of the Deshaun Watson saga, but after missing on Watson they punted on quarterback during this year’s draft. In 2022 at least, this is Jameis Winston’s team.

Winston should have better passing game weapons, at least, In addition to (hopefully) the return of a healthy Michael Thomas, the Saints used one of two first-round picks on fellow Ohio State wideout Chris Olave. The other first-rounder was used to draft a replacement for the departed Terron Armstead in tackle Trevor Penning of Northern Iowa.

Defensively, the unit that ranked seventh in the NFL last year remains mostly unchanged, outside of new starters at cornerback and safety in Paulson Adebo and Marcus Maye. The Saints may not have the talent to knock off the Buccaneers in the NFC South, but Davenport cautions that the Saints could be a team to look out for in 2022.

“Provided that the battery charge against Alvin Kamara don’t result in a lengthy suspension, the Saints have a solid array of offensive weaponry,” he said. “A decent offensive line. And a top-10 defense. If Winston can avoid turnovers like he did in his seven starts for New Orleans last year, this is a roster that’s capable of at least vying for a wild-card spot.”

“Two factors are holding back the Saints from being considered a playoff contender in the weaker NFC,” Sobleski countered.

“First, everyone needs to see how Winston recovered from his torn ACL. Even a healthy Winston still brings more questions than answers regarding his status as the team’s starting quarterback. Clearly, the Saints looked to upgrade the position before re-signing the 2015 No. 1 overall pick.

“Secondly, Dennis Allen received a second opportunity to be an NFL head coach. The opportunity proved to be overwhelming much earlier in his career. Can he be the stabilizing influence the franchise needs after Sean Payton chose to step away from the game? Allen can be rock solid and still have a difficult time replacing one of the game’s best coaches.

“Until those two really settle into their roles, the Saints present more questions than answers.”

In the NFC South, the Carolina Panthers came in 30th - 3rd-worst in the NFL. The Atlanta Falcons didn’t come in much better, at 29th out of 32, and the Tom Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers paced the division 4th in the league.

Do you agree with these rankings? Should the Saints be viewed as one of the worst teams in the NFL? Do you really think the gap is that great between the Buccaneers and the Saints? Is there an argument that the Saints should actually be considered a better team on paper than Tampa Bay? Let us know in the comments. Send me presents.