Old Tennessee Volunteers Coach Neyland once said, "touchdowns follow blocking, just as night follows day."
Saints fans should not be shocked and dismayed if Mickey Loomis, Jeff Ireland, and Sean Payton decide to be draft an offensive lineman in the first round.
It may not be a sexy pick for most Who Dats, but winning in the NFL starts at the line of scrimmage. Especially with a new quarterback leading the team in 2021. Keeping that person upright and creating holes for Kamara and Murray will be key components for winning.
I know most fans are clamoring for a cornerback, wide receiver, or linebacker in the first round, but does it make sense for the Saints?
THE ARGUMENT & REALITY
The interior line of scrimmage battle was an issue for New Orleans the past two postseasons. Brees was harassed and sacked multiple times against the Vikings (1, interception, 1 fumble, 2 hurries, 2 hits, 3 sacks, 10 blitzes, 208 yards) and the Buccaneers pressured him often (3 interceptions, 2 hits, 5 hurries, 19 blitzes, 134 yards, 38.1 qb rating).
Last season's selection of C/G Cesar Ruiz was executed to counter the problems Warford couldn't handle in the Vikings' loss. Sean Payton stresses availability for a player.
As great as LT Terron Armstead has performed since 2013, he still hasn't started a full 16 games in a season. Last year, COVID-19 limited him for two games. This year, add an extra contest plus the playoffs.
LG Andrus Peat signed his 5-year, $57 million deal last offseason. He kindly restructured the financial terms to help New Orleans save on the cap. Peat, in six seasons, hasn't finished 16 games either.
Both are great at holding down the left side of the Saints' offensive line - so what's the Saints' contingency plan? James Hurst is a good backup and can swing from guard to tackle necessary, but is Hurst the long-term solution?
Also, what will they do with Armstead and Peat if they pivot to select an offensive lineman? Having depth along the offensive line is never an issue in the NFL - is it?
WHAT WILL THEY DO?
I don't have a crystal ball, I don't have an inside source to the Saints War Room, nor do I profess to be Nostradamus, but it appears that at 28, New Orleans has options. I told 103.7 The Game's host Jordy Hultberg that I expect the team to be aggressive and make a move or two in the draft. I can't see them keeping eight draft choices, but they may package a couple of picks to move up into prime spots and select an exceptional and highly productive player(s).
I've been lobbying for Jamin Davis at linebacker. I can also see JOK and Bolton being first-round targets at linebacker. How about Elijah Moore, Rashod Bateman, or Rondale Moore at receiver? Not to mention Farley, Newsome, Horn, Samuel, Jr. or Surtain to bookend the secondary with Marshon Lattimore or safety Trevon Moehrig.
All can be great players, but do they fit New Orleans' draft philosophy for 2021? Hopefully, GM Mickey Loomis will provide the teams' drafting strategy for us in tomorrow's pre-draft press conference. But he's a great poker player, just like Sean Payton.
The truth is easy. No one will know until the pick is announced in Cleveland on Thursday at the 2021 NFL Draft.
But another offensive lineman? Point made, shall I counter? Do you recall an All-Pro right guard named Ryan Ramczyk? He wasn't a No. 1 selection on most mock draft boards in 2017 for the Saints. How's that pick working for New Orleans?
If a lineman is selected, don't be shocked like "JOE ROGAN" and proceed to jump off the Crescent City Connection - definitely not be recommended! Trust the process. As my great aunt would say, you'll understand it, by and by. Just another way of saying, be patient, Saints fans.
We shall see.