By Andrew Schuster @ShootsMcGavin on July 1, 2014
Between the 2014 NFL Draft and the free agent market, the New Orleans Saints certainly made a splash. The team is loaded with talent heading into the new season and a top candidate to take home the Lombardi Trophy. With that in mind, let's take a look at the Black and Gold's top-five offseason additions with the most to offer this year.
Champ Bailey comes to New Orleans as a 12-time Pro Bowl selection and one of the greatest cornerbacks to ever play the game. He may have lost a step or two with age, but he still has the ability to be a difference maker not only on the field but in the locker room as well. After parting ways with so many veterans this offseason, this is a guy the Saints want to have on their side. He is a leader and a superb addition to Rob Ryan’s defense.
The Saints’ 2014 fifth-round pick could have been drafted much higher if injuries weren’t a major concern. Ronald Powell’s potential is endless, but in order to give all that he has to offer, he will need to stay healthy. Rob Ryan’s defense is the perfect fir for the former Florida Gator, and we could see him come out swinging from day one. The talent as a disruptive pass rusher is certainly there, and he showed it in college when on the field.
As a 6-foot-3 converted wide receiver -- much like Richard Sherman -- Stanley Jean-Baptiste screams shutdown potential. While he may lack the top-end speed to keep up with some of the league’s fastest wideouts, the rookie cornerback possesses the man-to-man and ball skills to make an impact the day the new season kicks off.
It was a bit of a surprise to see the Saints move up and grab Brandin Cooks at No. 20 overall, but the team certainly got a special talent out of it. The former Oregon State Beaver has just about everything you want from a receiver. In my mind, this is the most versatile athlete New Orleans has seen since Reggie Bush. Good luck to anybody who has to defend him this season. Make sure to keep him on your Offensive Rookie of the Year radar.
The Saints stunned the fans when they signed free agent Jairus Byrd to a six-year deal this offseason. Since entering the league in 2009, he has gone to three Pro Bowls and leads all free safeties in interceptions with 22. If his ball hawk instincts carry over to the Big Easy, the Saints may have one of the top secondary units in the NFL in 2014.
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