Saints announce 2013 MVPs

NEW ORLEANS -- Offensive tackle Zach Strief, cornerback Keenan Lewis and linebacker Ramon Humber were the New Orleans Saints' 2013 MVPs on offense, defense and special teams, the team revealed Friday.

The Saints announce those honors each year at the Touchdown Club fan luncheon, which was held on Friday before the team flew to Indianapolis for Saturday night’s preseason game against the Colts.

All three were worthy recipients, though it’s worth noting that none of them were among New Orleans’ five Pro Bowlers last season (quarterback Drew Brees, tight end Jimmy Graham, guards Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs and defensive end Cameron Jordan). Perhaps the Saints were looking to reward their most valuable players who didn’t get their due on a national level.

Strief was the Saints’ most reliable and consistent lineman from the beginning of last season to the end, while others struggled early in the year. And the Saints were running frequently behind the right side of the line when their run game was at its best in the playoffs last season. ESPN NFL analyst John Clayton ranked Strief as his first-team All-Pro right tackle last year.

And I wrote earlier Friday that I couldn’t decide who deserved the Saints’ defensive MVP between Jordan and Lewis, while writing about Lewis’ snub from the ESPN #NFLRank. (Lewis actually lost a tiebreaker for the No. 100 spot on the defensive list.)

In his first year since signing as a free agent from the Pittsburgh Steelers, Lewis gave the Saints a bona fide No. 1 cornerback while routinely matching up against opponents' top targets. He finished with four interceptions and nine pass breakups.

The Saints credited Humber with nine special-teams tackles last season. He also recovered two onside kicks.