The New Orleans Saints have arguably the best offense in the NFL and it is because they have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. However, the Saints’ offensive line took a hit this summer when the team lost starting left tackle, Jermon Bushrod, to the Chicago Bears. The Saints were not willing to pay Bushrod the contract he desired so they let him walk.
At first it seemed like the Saints would be able to overcome Bushrod’s departure, but even in the early stages of the offseason it is becoming apparent that the left tackle position is becoming a concern. Saints head coach Sean Payton said as much when asked about the left tackle position, “I look at that spot like there’s a magnet with no name on it…Gray, it’s just gray.”
If the season started today Charles Brown would be the Saints starting left tackle, but there does not seem to be that much confidence in Brown. Payton is concerned with Brown’s inability to stay healthy, and although Brown filled in nicely when Zach Strief went down with an injury, he did suffer a season-ending injury.
Brown does not seem to be the answer for the Saints, but as of right now he is really all they have. The team could look to free agency, but with only about $1.85 million in cap space a viable left tackle will not be available. Making a trade for a left tackle is another route to go, but that does not seem likely for the Saints.
The way I see it, the Saints have one of two choices. One, insert Brown as the starting left tackle and hope he works out, or two, use one of their draft picks to bring in an offensive tackle that could possibly start right away. The Saints have the 15th overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, and if the left tackle position is still an issue by then the team should strongly consider using their top pick to draft an offensive lineman.
This year’s draft class is not very deep at offensive tackle, but with the 15th pick the Saints could get their starting left tackle. Only time will tell what the Saints decide to do about the left tackle position, but I am sure they will figure it out.
The Saints’ defense is probably their biggest issue, but the lack of a starting left tackle could become another big issue for the Saints.