Now that the draft and first round of NFL free agency is completed, what moves do the Saints need to make? That is an easier question.
The Saints biggest losses in free agency were Meachem, Nicks, and Porter. They replaced Nicks with Grubbs. Nick Toon seems like he could be the perfect replacement for Meachem. I think they have work to do at corner. Losing Porter and Torrence really hurts the depth at corner, which is a key position in the NFL with the quality depth of receivers. Consequently, it would be nice if they could pull a few cornerbacks out their hat and a speed pass rusher. All of this is, once again, doesn’t mean a thing if they don’t sign Drew Brees.
Of course, this year's off season will look even stronger if last year’s draft comes of age. If players like Greg Romeus, Montez Wilson, Cameron Jordan, and Johnny Patrick develop in year 2 like Jimmy Graham, Patrick Robinson, Jahri Evans, and Tracy Porter did in their second seasons it could be a special year.
I like the change in the lineup Paul Mainieri made against Tulane. As I wrote last week, the bottom of the lineup needs to be more productive, and Jacoby Jones needs to snap out of his sophomore slump.
Hopefully, both improvements will be made with him hitting ninth.
In addition, the top of the lineup should be producing more runs considering the production from Katz and Rhymes. All that takes is the first two guys in the lineup getting on base, which Fields has done well and Nola is capable. Also, Nola is very capable of moving Fields 90 feet.
Still, the lineup is not going to carry the team. The supposed strength of the team is the starting pitching, and that is where Ryan Eades and Aaron Nola have to get back in a groove. Eades has been hit hard in 3 of his last 4 starts. Nola has not been consistently effective of late either.
Maybe Mainieri should expect less of those two. Early in the year they were getting into the 7th inning every start. Perhaps, he should just ask them for five strong innings and use the depth bullpen.
Of course, the Tigers are in the midst of a great season in a year that the SEC is as difficult as it has ever been. Nevertheless, these adjustments are in an effort to take the excellent season the Tigers have had so far and make it historic.