At least the Saints are getting back their coach Sean Payton. It was a semi-boring off-season for New Orleans. They did lose offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod in free agency, a pretty solid tight end in Dave Thomas and a good backup linebacker in Jonathan Casillas.
But they did upgrade the backup quarterback position with Luke McCown and Senecca Wallace.
The biggest move they made was bringing in Rob Ryan as their defensive coordinator. New Orleans will move from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense. They don't exactly have the right personnel but did make some moves in the off-season by signing defensive linemen Kenyon Coleman and Victor Butler. The Saints got some secondary help with the addition of cornerback Keenan Lewis and safety Jim Leonhard. They will have to address this side of the ball in the draft. Problem is they only have five selections and none in the second round.
1) Outside Linebacker
The Saints are in the No. 15 hole and they are praying a pass rushing outside linebacker falls to that spot in the first round. Players like Jarvis Jones and Barkevious Mingo seem to be two players that would be ideal for Ryan's defense. But there's a strong chance those guys are gone. So to would be Dion Jordan and Ezekiel Ansah. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see the Saints trade out of that spot if a pass rusher is not available. Plus, they could gain another pick or two. They could try and get an OLB/DE later in the draft.
2) If New Orleans stands pat and the pass rushers are off the board the draft's top safety should still be there. That would be Kenny Vaccaro. He would be an ideal pick for the Saints here and feel a big need.
3) Defensive Tackle
Flipping the switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 isn't as easy as it sounds. It takes time and the correct personnel. New Orleans would love to draft a big bodied nose tackle and a defensive tackle that would fit the five-technique on this front. They need to build depth here.
4) Offensive Tackle
Drew Brees is still one of the elite players and quarterbacks in the NFL and you better protect his blind slide. Say what you want about Bushrod but he was the Saints left tackle and now he's gone. Somewhere in the draft they need to find a tackle that can contribute to this unit.
Luke McCown (QB)
Senneca Wallace (QB)
Ben Watson (TE)
Jason Smith (OT)
Kenyon Coleman (DL)
Victor Butler (DE/OLB)
Jim Leonhard (S)
Keenan Lewis (CB)