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Robo-quarterback Drew Brees just keeps on rolling in after another terrific season a year ago. He completed 68.2% of his passes with 32 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. Tom Brady and Drew Brees are neck and neck in all major career passing totals including completions, attempts, yardage and touchdowns.s Brees has now thrown for 60,903 passing yards and is only 458 yards away from passing Dan Marino into third on the all-time list. With a few more strong seasons, he could pass Peyton Manning and Brett Favre into 1st place all-time. Brees career touchdown to interception ratio is also amazing with 428 touchdowns against only 205 interceptions. He is 37-years old but is still going strong so expect more of the same in 2016.
Luke McCown came in against the Carolina Panthers in week three and completed 31-38 passes for 310 yards. He had no touchdowns though with 1 interception. He is 35-years old and brings experience to the table but only 9 career passing touchdowns and his last one was in 2007.
Grayson actually reminds me a ton of a young Drew Brees in a lot of ways and he will thrive in getting to learn
under the veteran. Grayson has excellent touch and anticipation on his throws. Too often, all you hear is arm strength but touch and timing comes into play more than arm strength. Has the confidence and toughness to thrive at the next level but it will be a season or two before we catch a glimpse of him.
Ingram had another season season when healthy, averaging 4.6 yards per carry on 166 carries and scored 6 touchdowns. Expectations were raised however from a good 2014 season but he didn't live up to the hype. He also missed another four games, adding up to 12 missed games over the past three seasons. Ingram is capable of good fantasy numbers. He is a strong, powerful runner with nice shifting ability. You have to temper expectations due to his inability to play all sixteen games. He averaged about 14 carries a game for 64 yards per game.
Spiller was a huge disappointment for the Saints last year, rushing for only 112 yards on 36 carries. He showed none of the vision and flash that made him a 1000-yard rusher back in 2012. In fact his rushing totals have dropped in each of the past four years. He did have 34 receptions for 239 yards with a pair of scores so he did in fact contribute but he does not look as dynamic as in years past. If he can stay healthy he has upside but he has not shown capable of that over last few years.
Tim Hightower is a dependable, move the chains veteran running back who picked up 375 rushing yards last year, averaging 3.9 yards per carry. He also scored four times. He has good size at 226 pounds and soft hands who can add skill to the passing game if called upon. He has 28 career rushing touchdowns on 619 career careers which is solid production.
Cadet is a below average runner and a decent receiver. He is buried in the depth chart though.
The Marques Colston era in New Orleans (and likely the NFL) has come to an end after a productive long career. Brandin Cooks appears to be the new go-to receiver in New Orleans after a stellar second season as a pro. He caught 84 passes for 1136 yards and scored 9 touchdowns. He is an amazingly quick receiver with a tremendous burst. He is undersized at 5'10 and 189 pounds but has elite track speed that gives defenders fits. He was targeted 129 times last year and Brees has faith in him catching the ball. Expect 90+ receptions for 1200+ yards in 2016.
What a terrific scouting job the Saints did in finding undrafted receiver Willie Snead from Ball State. Last year as a rookie, Snead emerged as a legitimate WR2 for the team, catching 69 passes for 984 yards and 3 touchdowns. He was not as productive in the 2nd half of the season but he is a great story and should put up similar stats this season if he can hold off rookie 2nd round pick Michael Thomas from Ohio State. Thomas has an elite package of size, speed and tenacity but he never really has reached his full potential with Ohio State or he would have been an early first round pick. He needs to improve his ability to get off press coverage and his route running must get crisper but he is good enough to emerge as the WR1 in New Orleans.
Another undrafted receiver discovery, Brandon Coleman emerged in the 2nd half of last season, catching 19 passes for 303 yards and a score in the final 8 games. He has awesome size at 6'6 with a big catch radius.
Josh Hill, a former undrafted player from Idaho State is no Jimmy Graham. He only caught 14 passes for 176 yards last year although he did score
five touchdowns. He doesn't appear the have the ability to separate from an offender.
The Saints leading tight end by a mile last year was veteran Ben Watson who fled to the Baltimore Ravens this past offseason. That leaves 74 receptions for 825 yards and 6 touchdowns on the table to be picked up. Coby Fleener was signed in free agency and he is the best bet to win the starting position. He is a very good receiver and in this offense, 70+ receptions is a strong possibility.
Josh Hill and Michael Hoomanawanui do not seem to be terrific options in the passing game and should not beat out Fleener.
Projected Starters: LT Terron Armstead, LG Andrus Peat, C Max Unger, RG Tim Lelito, RT Zach Strief
Key Backups: Senio Kelemete, Tyrus Thompson
I think the best player on this squad is Terron Armstead, a third year pro out of tiny Arkansas-Pine Bluff. He has developed well and is one of the best tackles in the game today. The team drafted Andrus Peat last year to take over for Zach Strief at right tackle but Strief, a 32-year old former 7th round pick has elevated his play and held on to the position. Peat will likely slide into guard although he is fighting Senio Kelemete and / or Tim Lelito for the starting job. Center Max Under is a very good anchor the middle of this group. There is some potential here although I am not enamoured by the guards here and that results in an average ranking.