Do you want to know what is near impossible to do unless you’re an NFL scout? Give an objective and thoughtful insight on offensive and defensive lines before training camp starts. Sure we know our returning gents. Cam Jordan is no mystery. Terron Armstead will likely start and have some injury he plays through. But there are 16 men trying out for the O line currently, and we haven’t seen the majority of these guys in pads. And unless I go digging into everyone’s college and pro history (if applicable)…well I’m just not for time’s sake. So I’m gonna do something different this time. I’m gonna give a way-too-early lineup projection, and then revisit the lines during preseason. A bit of a cheat maybe, but what do you care?
WAY TOO EARLY O LINE:
Who will be our 5 sumos to defend our beloved Drew? At this point in the offseason, we can pencil in Armstead at left tackle, Andreas Peat at left guard, Larry Warford at right guard, and Ryan Ramczyk at right tackle. The center position is open at the moment, but the hope is that second round draft pick Erik McCoy will be the starter. But the world isn’t over if he’s not ready. Maybe some disappointment, but he could still start by week 4. Maybe the disappointment and worry grows each week after that, but one thing at a time, Saints fans.
The Saints brought on Nick Easton as a possibility for center in the wake of the Max Unger retirement news. He seems serviceable from what we know. And LSU’s Will Clapp has been quietly developing in the wings. Both have been getting practice in at guard too, so I’d be surprised if either of them didn’t make the cut. Cameron Tom is another who the Saints view highly as a guard backup. Michael Ola is another that is a likely backup tackle. But two things we can definitely count on is some great camp and preseason competition and a solid offensive line in the final result. The Saints have become master masons when building a brick wall around Drew. This year will be no different. Last season was something we haven’t seen much under Sean Payton, and that was the injury bug attacking the whole line. It was like plugging fingers in a failing dam by the end of last season. Can the Saints improve the depth on the offensive line? That’s the million dollar question we’ll soon know.
WAY TOO EARLY D LINE:
We’ve got 15 dudes vying for 4 starting positions and backups. Again, we can assume our basics here, but there’s even more question marks and worry if you’re paying attention…and you probably shouldn’t. The Saints can’t ever get the defensive line to be awesome all the way across at the same time. Sheldon Rankins became a beast, we all got excited, and he tore his Achilles. David Onyemata has been steadily looking better and better, and went and got suspended. Luckily it’s only one game, and it’s a first offense. And it’s stupid. But I digress. Wait, I can’t. I mean, if the dude wants to smoke weed in the offseason, who gives a flying fuck?? Oh wait, Goodell. Fucking. Roger. Goodell. Now I digress…
Let’s talk defensive ends. The edge is much more exciting right now. This is the first time in as long as I can remember that I’m rubbing my hands and licking my chops at the thought of the German pincer attack that is coming this season. Tuck your bib in your collar and get ready for your eyes to digest a feeding frenzy that is Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport. And let’s hope they’re healthy because behind them, the rest is a question mark. And besides Onyemata, the interior is a bit of a question mark too.
Taylor Stallworth is our other returning interior lineman. We can pencil him in for now. That said, Malcom Brown was brought in to be a starter, not a backup, so we’ll see keep an eye on that competition. Mario Edwards was brought in to backup the edge. Trey Hendrickson is still around as a solid backup. Carl Granderson is a promising UDFA if he doesn’t have legal trouble anymore. But even in mentioning just those five names, there’s another SEVEN guys trying to make it on this line.
This is all just a light preview. Once these gents are in pads and see some action, we’ll start to know a lot more about them. And once there’s not 31 men to choose from, I’ll bring you part 2!
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