The New Orleans Saints are the final stop in today’s edition of NFC South team-by-team mailbags.
Will in New Orleans writes: I was under the impression that Alex Brown filled the Saints’ hole at defensive end. So why do draftniks, including ESPN's own Mel Kiper Jr. in his latest four round team mocks, still predict that the Saints will draft a defensive end in the first round? it doesn't make sense given their needs at outside linebacker and defensive tackle.
Pat Yasinskas: Brown definitely brings some stability to the defensive end spot. But, even after his signing, the Saints had free-agent Jimmy Wilkerson in for a visit. That shows me they still are looking for depth at defensive end. Also, Brown, Will Smith and Bobby McCray aren’t exactly young and the Saints are in a position where their roster is talented enough that they can look a year or two down the road. I wouldn’t rule out a defensive end in the first round. But, at the moment, I’d lean toward a linebacker. We’ll see.
Mario in Fremont, Calif., writes: Do you think with Denver trading Brandon Marshall, they will try to trade a receiver from Saints. Saints are loaded with some good receivers and they might be interested on the draft day?
Pat Yasinskas: I’ve wondered that, not just about Denver, but any team in need of a receiver. If I’m a general manager and I’m looking to trade for a receiver, the Saints would be the first team I call. The Saints have several receivers on their bench that could start for other teams. I don’t see any way they’d part with Robert Meachem. The guy I wonder about is Lance Moore. Not sure if it was totally because of injuries or what, but he seemed to be all out of favor last year and the Saints have plenty of other options. If they want to add a draft pick or two, Moore might be able to get that for them. Not saying that will definitely happen, but it’s something to think about.
Pat Yasinskas: To my knowledge, at this moment, no. Think it’s just a pipe dream by some fans.
Dave in Norfolk, Va., writes: Just out of curiosity, does everyone associated with the Saints get a Super Bowl ring? I mean even players like Deuce McAllister who was signed on as an honorable captain and was on the sidelines during the Super Bowl? How about the players on the practice squad? Do they get a ring?
Pat Yasinskas: Very good question and I’ve got a little experience in this one, going back to my days in Charlotte. Panthers didn’t get Super Bowl rings, but they got NFC Championship rings and that created some pretty major issues within the organization. Same with the Bucs –- I know some people there who did and did not get rings when Tampa Bay won the Super Bowl. The basic rule of thumb is the team decides who gets rings. All players, including those on injured reserve, get them. Same for the coaching staff. I haven’t heard anything on how far the Saints are going with the rings, but I’m guessing McAllister gets one just as a common courtesy for his contributions to the franchise. Where you get into the really sticky area is when you start giving out rings to people beyond coaches and players. From what I’ve seen elsewhere, general managers, top scouts and department heads throughout the organization will get them. It gets tricky beyond that because NFL teams employ hundreds of people and they can’t all get rings. I know former Carolina radio play-by-play man Bill Rosinski was quite upset when he didn’t get a ring. I also know some lower-level employees in Carolina and Tampa Bay at least were given the chance to buy replica rings.