NFL Trade Deadline: Areas the Saints Could Look to Improve

The Saints could be shoppers during the NFL's trade deadline, but that doesn't mean they'll be buyers.
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The NFL trade deadline isn't until Tuesday, Nov. 3, and it's a mystery what things will look like this year. We've seen a few trades go down over the past few days, most recently seeing pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue going from the Vikings to the Ravens for some future draft picks. History has showed us that the Saints are more of a trade partner during the offseason, especially during the draft and right before the start of the season. However, we've seen moves in the past like landing Eli Apple from the Giants and trading Adrian Peterson to the Cardinals. Last season, the Saints were linked heavily to the Emmanuel Sanders sweepstakes, but lost out to the 49ers.

If you search hard enough, you'll find plenty of players on their current roster who have been simulated to leave during trade scenarios. In reality, it feels like the Saints would be playing more of the 'buyer' role as opposed to being the 'seller'. They do have a ton of money tied up in next year's salary cap, but that's a problem they'll visit when the time is right. Here's a few areas the Saints could look to improve prior to the trade deadline.

Pass Rusher

It wasn't so long ago that the Saints sent an all-out blitz on Jadeveon Clowney, but he ultimately chose the Titans. New Orleans had a good pass rush before Clowney, and honestly Trey Hendrickson has stepped up in a big way in his contract year, having 4.5 sacks currently to Clowney's goose egg. Cam Jordan has had a tough start, but looks to put that all behind him and get back to last year's form.

Marcus Davenport and his availability seems to be the biggest wild card here, as we saw a glimpse of him during his debut against the Chargers, which was a good showing. If he can get back to full strength and stay healthy, then it does help the Saints pass rush tremendously, and the throwing in Carl Granderson as another rotational guy at times works fine. If New Orleans does look to acquire a veteran before the deadline, J.J. Watt is a popular name being thrown out, but one to keep an eye on is Ryan Kerrigan with the Washington Football Team. It looks to be an area where you can't have enough options to affect the passer.

Cornerback

Hopefully, we'll feel a bit better about Marshon Lattimore after Sunday. He hasn't looked himself since the beginning of the season, and analytics back that up. With a 47.2 overall grade, Lattimore is currently ranked 103rd out of 121 cornerbacks on Pro Football Focus, and opposing quarterbacks have a perfect passer rating (158.3) against him currently. Per their stats, he's given up 15 receptions on 19 targets (78.9 percent) for 254 yards and 3 touchdowns. That's just not going to cut it for New Orleans.

Getting Janoris Jenkins back and having a bye week to fix some things should help the Saints secondary out, but if they truly want to be contenders and make a run of things, then this is an area they have to get better at. Patrick Robinson and P.J. Williams are their backup options, but it feels like they could find an upgrade at the deadline. The entire secondary has a lot to prove coming out of the bye week.

Fan Thoughts

Saints News Network ran two separate polls on Twitter, one focusing on offense and the other on defense. In those, offensive line and cornerback got the top votes. 

Offensive line is interesting in itself, because protecting Drew Brees at all costs is what needs to happen to be successful. Nick Easton has done a good job filling in with injuries, as well as rookie Cesar Ruiz. I think some of this could be coming from when Ryan Ramczyk went out in the Lions game, which made Ethan Greenidge go in. He looked good in place of Terron Armstead, but struggled on the right side. The team sat him against the Chargers, and put in veteran James Hurst, who didn't play a ton of snaps, but figures to be a better option for the Saints moving forward.

Wide receiver was another area that was a bit intriguing. We know what Michael Thomas brings to the table, but the recent hamstring injury is a bit of a concern. Emmanuel Sanders is finding his groove, while Tre'Quan Smith had a very off game against the Chargers. The Saints have talent there, especially with younger players like Marquez Callaway and Deonte Harris improving week after week. There's a ton of good talent that figures to be available for the deadline, and it might be too hard for the Saints to pass a potential target up.

As always, we'll see how things unfold, but this might be a big year for trades to unfold with how the season has played out thus far.