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The New Orleans Saints are next in our tour of team-by-team mailbags.
Jody in Hammond, La writes: Hey Pat! Great Work Man. I Constantly check for your updates every day and i must say i enjoy your enthusiasm... atleast on paper.. anyway big news right now is that LeRoy Hill is now on the market.. Do the Saints Make a play at him?
Pat Yasinskas: I also have been wondering about the possibility of the Saints making a move for LeRoy Hill. It would make lots of sense on the field. But, from a salary-cap view, it might be tough to bring in a player like Hill. Then again, general manager Mickey Loomis repeatedly has found ways to make moves despite limited cap room this offseason, so I wouldn't rule anything out.
Caleb in Ruston, La writes: I'm wondering who the odd man out is as far as CB depth. Greer and Porter on the outside with Jenkins in the nickel? Or do you think Jenkins supplants one of those two by the end of the season? Is Jason David gone? Will Usama Young be given a shot to learn under Sharper at safety? Thanks, Caleb
Pat Yasinskas: The Saints suddenly have a bunch of defensive backs who look decent on paper. The plan is to play rookie Malcolm Jenkins at cornerback and I think he will step right into the mix with Jabari Greer and Tracey Porter. At worst, he'll open the season as the nickel back. At best, he starts and Porter becomes the nickel back. Jason David looks expendable, but the Saints would only cut him now if they feel they need cap room. The past has shown a lot of things can happen as far as injuries and I think the Saints would like to go to camp with as many cornerbacks as possible and let things sort out. And, yes, it sounds like the Saints are moving Usama Young to safety. This is a good opportunity for him. He can spend a year learning from Darren Sharper and that might allow him to find his niche.
Trent in parts unknown writes: Pat, great stuff on the blog. Just wondering why everyone thinks the power back the Saints need has to be a half back, isn't that why they brought in Heath Evans?
Pat Yasinskas: Good point on Heath Evans. One reason the Saints signed the fullback was he can run and catch some passes. Evans could end up getting some short-yardage carries. Undrafted free agents Herb Donaldson and P.J. Hill also are big backs who will get a chance to show if they can handle short-yardage situations. But, keep in mind, there were reasons why they went undrafted. Don't forget Mike Bell, who already is on the roster. He ran pretty well in Denver earlier in his career and could end up being a factor.
Jorge in Ft. Huachuca, AZ writes: Trading up for a punter notwithstanding, do you think that this draft class along with the free agents signed by the Saints will translate into a division crown and a trip deep into the playoffs?
Pat Yasinskas: Well, I certainly like what the Saints have done with their defense throughout this offseason. If this defense can at least be average, the Saints will be a playoff team. I know the Saints are taking a lot of heat for trading up to get punter Thomas Morstead in the fifth round, but I'm going to defend them on this move. If the Saints had taken a player at another position, there's no guarantee he makes the team or contributes. It's the fifth round. There's not much to lose here. Yes, I thought Glenn Pakulak did a nice job at the end of last season, but we haven't seen that much of him. A little competition at punter isn't a bad things.