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Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Draft needs: New Orleans Saints

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

The New Orleans Saints are up as we continue our series of team-by-team draft needs.
  1. Defensive end. The Saints let Charles Grant go last season and Alex Brown and Jimmy Wilkerson were adequate. But neither of them give the Saints anything special. The Saints need another pass rusher to go with Will Smith. The Gregg Williams defense is at its best when it can force other teams into turnovers.
  2. Outside linebacker. The Saints let Scott Fujita go in free agency last year and it didn’t seem like a big deal at the time. But several guys who were in contention to take over for Fujita got hurt and the position never really got filled. The Saints could use a speedy playmaker to put next to middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma.
  3. Running back. A lot of New Orleans fans don’t seem willing to believe it, but Pierre Thomas almost certainly will be allowed to walk as a free agent. He fell into the doghouse when his ankle injury was slow to heal last season. Chris Ivory did a nice job filling in when Thomas and Reggie Bush were out. But the Saints need consistency at this position and that means adding a running back who can handle a good chunk of carries to go with Bush and Ivory.
  4. Defensive tackle. Sedrick Ellis has developed into a solid player, but the Saints don’t have much in the middle beside him. It’s time to upgrade the talent level here.
  5. Offensive tackle. I know the Saints drafted Charles Brown last year. But, if he's not ready to start, I'm not sure this offense can endure another year of Jermon Bushrod at left tackle.

For a look at New Orleans’ needs through another set of eyes, check out our friends at HoopDat.