Yes, if the rest of the nation were not already hating enough on the nation’s best, toughest, greatest, most difficult conference…well you get the picture. After last week’s three day NFL Draft, the hate got a lot deeper for the Southeastern Conference.
Yes, the mighty SEC has won seven straight national titles in football and now the SEC has set yet another historic record. 63 players from the mighty conference down South were drafted and many more were signed on as undrafted free agents. The 63 players drafted from Southeastern Conference schools shattered the old record of 55 that was a benchmark set back in 1983 when 55 players were drafted from the Pacific 10 Conference. And give some love to the new kids on the block.
Missouri and Texas A&M combined to have seven players selected in the draft last weekend. And how god is the SEC West Division? Well, I’ll let you decide. The ACC (Atlantic Coastal Conference) had a solid 31 players drafted over the three day weekend. The SEC West alone had 32 players taken in the draft. Dayum!
The SEC tied a NFL Draft record when 12 of their players were drafted in the first round of the 2013 draft. In the last seven NFL Drafts the SEC has averaged nearly 40 players drafted including more than seven first round selections per season as well.
And here’s another one for you SEC haters out there. Remember after the 2011 season when the rest of the country said, “Oh no, please, not another boring, low-scoring game. We want action! We want some points,” coaches from other schools and analyst cried. Well boo who to those fools!
That classic so called game of the century that saw LSU edge Alabama 9-6 in overtime without a touchdown in the game has produced some big time talent. Did you know that when LSU took to the field at Bryant Deny Stadium in November of 2011 that 31 of the players that played in that game have been drafted by the NFL? Wow! Now that is amazing.
Yes folks, since Florida ripped The Ohio State University 41-14 in the 2006 BCS Title Game, the SEC has by far been the kings of football. And if you go back and look to see how the SEC Champion landed in the BCS Title Game, you would see that the team that was beaten to get to the title game could have very easily been in the title game too!
So what does that mean? It means with a new four team playoff forthcoming in two years the likelihood of an all-SEC National Title Game like the one we saw in New Orleans two seasons ago is more possible to take place than not.
And now as we get ready to go to newsstands and buy those ever-so-fun preseason magazines that get us fired up for the upcoming season, we all know that regardless of what predictions are made and what the national media says and thinks, the SEC will be the one standing with that crystal ball.
And if you’re looking at more history, then check this out. Did you know that picks #9, #10 and #11 in the NFL Draft were all from the University of Alabama? Yes, for the first time in draft history three players from the same school were taken in order.
The Tide’s Dee Milliner went to the New York Jets with the #9 pick, guard Chance Warmack to the Tennessee Titans at #10 and offensive tackle D.J. Fluker to the San Diego Chargers at #11. And for the fourth consecutive year, the first defensive back taken in the draft came from the SEC.
In fact, 33 of the first 99 players drafted last weekend came from the SEC. Former USC Coach Pete Carroll must love the SEC, as he led the league drafting five players from the Southeastern Conference.
Five other teams took four players from the SEC, including the Bengals, Titans, 49ers, Lions and Miami Dolphins had four SEC players on their draft day lists while the Texans, Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars all selected three SEC players. In fact only three of the NFL’s 32 teams did not pick an SEC player. Those teams were Atlanta, Carolina and New England.
There has been at least one SEC player drafted in the last 146 rounds of the NFL Draft. LSU and Alabama led the way for the SEC with nine players from each school being drafted. In a side note for the ACC, Florida State led all schools in the 2013 draft as 11 Seminoles were drafted in this year’s draft.
So what else can be said? What else needs to be said? The only thing that can stop the SEC is the SEC. And when we move to that new playoff format the rest of the nation will have to count on an SEC Team to keep another SEC team from winning it all!
The dominant ways of the SEC will only become stronger.
Don’t we all like to poke around and see what they are saying out there about the Saints and their draft class? Exactly who are “they?” Well they can be a variety of folks. But Who Dats, what I did was search around the net and found six places that graded out the entire 2013 Draft and gave their expert analysis or, so as they say, thoughts on how each of the league’s 32 teams did over the three-day draft period.
The five sites I went to include Sporting News, ESPN.com, Fox Sports.com, CBS Sports.com and Sports Illustrated -SI.com. All of these sites had solid opinions, and of the five I went to, Chris Burke of SI.com gave the Saints their lowest draft mark, giving the Saints Draft Class a C.
Before we get into what they said you know in life we all make mistakes. From the worst of the worst to the best of the best, EVERYBODY messes up at the very least every now and then. Example, when I checked to see what Sporting News said about the Saints 2013 Draft Class this is what I found.
— 2014 NFL Draft preview: Clemson's Clowney early favorite for No. 1 pick
Oh snaps! Now a lot of folks know exactly who Jadeveon Clowny is but I'm quite sure that not everyone knows where Mr. Clowney plays college football. With that said I’m sure the inbox and voice mail to the SN was peppered with both Gamecocks and Tigers Fans about that line above. Clowney plays for the Ole Ball coach at South Carolina and the Gamecocks’ biggest and most hated rival, you guessed it, is Clemson. Ouch, that one hurts SN!
New Orleans Saints: The Saints got their key components for Rob Ryan's new 3-4 defense, a terrific all-around safety with good blitzing pop (Texas' Kenny Vaccaro) and an ideal nose tackle (Georgia's John Jenkins.) But this is the Saints, so we look to their offensive steals. They should feel good about turning athletic Arkansas-Pine Bluff Terron Armstead into a rock of a left tackle given their small-school history with linemen (see Jahri Evans, Jermon Bushrod.) Oklahoma wide receiver Kenny Stills has the skills to thrive with Drew Brees, too.
Up next, the guys over at CBSsports.com gave their take on how the Saints did. CBS Sports is a very good site in my opinion and they do have so good folks that put together some good stuff on each team. Here is what the Columbia Broadcasting System’s sports web site said about the Black and Gold:
New Orleans Saints- The road to the NFC South Division crown now runs through Atlanta and its dynamic passing attack, so the top cover safety in the draft, Kenny Vaccaro, makes sense in the first round. Really like the selection of highly athletic offensive tackle Terron Armstead as a potential replacement for Jermon Bushrod at left tackle. Armstead wowed at the East-West Shrine Game and improved throughout Senior Bowl week as a late addition before his eye-popping combine workout. If big Jon Jenkins can stay away from the po'boys, he could be a star in New Orleans. Watch out for wide receiver Kenny Stills as well. Sean Payton has shown a willingness to let young receivers earn roles, and Stills has the size, athleticism and swagger to become a trusted outlet for Drew Brees. I like the Saints' class, as a whole, but was disappointed that more help wasn't brought to the pass rush. Grade: B-
Now on to the four letter network, ESPN. ESPN began broadcasting coverage of the NFL Draft back in 1980 and since then the Draft has become a must-see and must-listen ritual for those football crazed fans that can’t go get a quart of milk without knowing what their team did. Here’s what ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. had to say about the Saints!
"Welcome back, New Orleans. Last year, the Saints were basically shut out, with no picks in either Round 1 or 2. This year, they got some pretty good players at a few different spots. Kenny Vaccaro is the best safety in what is a really good draft class of safeties, so getting him at No. 15 was by no means a reach, particularly when that's a big need for this defense. Terron Armstead was a pretty good value at another need position all the way down at No. 75. He's an extremely athletic left tackle prospect. The problem is he needs time to develop, and that position looks really shaky headed into 2013. John Jenkins is a huge, high-effort defensive tackle who can play immediately. If there's a big question for New Orleans, it's whether it should have taken Jarvis Jones at No. 15, because the Saints could use a pass-rusher. But they got better over these three days." Kiper gave the Saints a B on their draft class.
The four letter network’s biggest competitor, Fox Sports.com had several different folks give their breakdown of the draft. Fox Sports.com used their experts to give their take on each draft class of every NFL Team. Of the three, Alex Marvez gave the Saints a B+ and said that safety Kenny Vaccaro would push Roman Harper for the starting job, and he also gave high marks to Saints OT Terron Armstead. Another Fox Analyst, Floyd Engel, said that new Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro is the real deal. Other comments from Fox included a prediction that Kenny Vaccaro will be a star in the NFL and the guys at Fox Sports.com loved the big linemen the Saints drafted.
The Saints ought to be thrilled with S Kenny Vaccaro, their first-round selection. They were not on the clock for 60 selections after that and only made five total picks. The best of the rest might be DT John Jenkins, who’s faster than he looks. OT Terron Armstead was a value at 75, but he will not help the Saints’ issues at tackle until at least 2014. Grade: C
Other SI notes came from writer Don Banks. Banks has come on the show with Bobby and me a few times, and he pointed out a few things from this past weekend’s NFL Draft. Here is what Mr. Banks had to say:
“The NFL is big on having guest selection announcers in the second and third rounds in recent years, but I'm not sure it will ever top Friday's highlight in that department: Former New Orleans Saints special teams standout Steve Gleason, who is wheelchair-bound and suffering in his fight against ALS, came on stage and announced the Saints' third-round pick of Arkansas-Pine Bluff offensive tackle Terron Armstead.
In order to communicate these days, Gleason has to look at a computer screen and spell words by looking at letters one at a time. Then the screen translates those words into his pre-recorded voice, and that's how he "announced'' the Saints pick. It was a moment that rendered so much of the pomp and silliness that goes on at the draft utterly irrelevant.”
Banks also gave a nod of praise to the Saints in the club being able to trade Chris Ivory and get another pick. “It didn't get much notice Friday night, but kudos to the Saints for getting a fourth-round pick out of running back Chris Ivory in a trade. New Orleans sent him to the Jets, as long rumored, for New York's fourth-rounder, 106th overall. Ivory went undrafted in 2010, led the team in rushing as a rookie, and the Saints wound up getting three seasons and a decent mid-round draft choice out of him. That's the way you win the personnel wars in the NFL,” Banks said.
New Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro joined me, Bobby, Mike and Hokie during Draft Fest shortly after the Saints selected him as their first pick. You could tell by the tone in his voice that the level of excitement in Vaccaro is extremely high.
“I felt good after my work out here in New Orleans and I felt like I would be here,” Vaccaro told us.
During his career with Texas, Vaccaro recorded 92 tackles, two interceptions and forced two fumbles during his senior season with Texas.
Kenny Vaccaro said he’s excited about his new team and he’s ready to get to work.
“New Orleans was the last place I visited before the draft and I thought the visit went well and now I’m just very glad to be a member of the Saints team.”
Two weeks before the draft Vaccaro tweeted out that he was at the Saints Practice facility and he said he thought he would be back in two weeks. He was right!
Click the play button to listen to our full interview with Vaccaro:
Saints Color Analyst Hokie Gajan gave his take on the Saints pick. “I liked the outside linebackers that were available when the Saints picked. Obviously the coaches think that Vaccaro can come in and contribute right away.”
The Saints’ pick of Vaccaro marks the sixth straight year in which New Orleans picked a defensive player with their first available pick in the NFL Draft. “I feel like my experience at Safety is one of my strengths. Playing in a conference with a lot of good quarterbacks has given me a chance to face some great competition.”
Saints Coach Sean Payton talked about some of the strong points in his new safety: “He has good football intelligence and a high football I.Q.” The Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert was not too excited about the Saints first draft selection. “Man we should have taken a pass rusher. I think Vaccaro is a good player but Saints would have liked the team to take a pass rusher with that pick.”
If the Saints stand pat with their current picks, the Black and Gold will next pick in the third round of the draft, the 75th overall pick.
The Falcons had the best record in the NFC last season and they earned the #1 seed in the post season, coming up short of playing in the Super Bowl. Atlanta finished the season with a 13-3 record, champs of the NFC South and they were just a few yards away from winning the NFC Title. However, there was not much input last season from the Falcons’ draft class.
The Falcons had six draft selections last season with their top pick Guard Peter Konz from Wisconsin having the biggest impact a season ago. Konz came in and played in 15 games last year for the Falcons, earning nine starts.
With their second pick in the draft the Falcons picked up OT Lamar Holmes from Southern Mississippi. Homes played in one game last season. Holmes is in the future plans for Atlanta as he was signed to a four year deal last season.
FB Bradie Ewing was picked up in the fifth round by Atlanta. Ewing got off to a good start in training camp but was lost for the season injuring his knee in a preseason game against the Ravens. With another fifth-round pick, Atlanta took Troy DE Jonathan Massaquoi.
Massaquoi was considered one of the better pass rushing prospects in the 2012 NFL Draft. Massaquoi gave the Falcons some quality depth and could make a bigger impact this season. SS Charles Mitchell was picked up by Atlanta in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Mitchell was somewhat a pleasant surprise for Atlanta last season as he played in 10 games giving the Falcons more options in their defensive backfield. And with their final pick the Falcons scooped up DT Travian Robertson from South Carolina.
Robertson played in seven games with one start a season ago. So although the Falcons’ draft class did not finish up the season with high marks, overall the class did help the Falcons with depth and all players made the team.
Atlanta can really upgrade their roster in the 2013 NFL Draft this week with a boat load of draft picks. The Falcons have 11 total picks currently available to them in this week’s draft: One pick in the first round, second round and third round and Atlanta has two picks available in the fourth round, one in the fifth and sixth rounds and the Falcons finish up with four seventh round selections.
Let's take a look at what the Saints have done against each of their opponents they face on the 2013 NFL Schedule. Aside from facing their divisional foes Atlanta, Tampa and Carolina two times this season the Saints will take on members from the AFC East and the NFC West.
Let's start off in our own division, which happens to be the NFC South. The Saints have a winning record against just one team in the division and that is vs. the Tampa Bay Bucs. New Orleans is coming off a season in which they swept the Bucs with two wins in 2012. The Saints beat Tampa 35-28 in their first meeting a year ago and then in by far the most impressive game of the season the Saints pitched a 41-0 shutout over Tampa. The Saints lead their series with the Bucs 25-17.
New Orleans got swept by the Carolina Panthers a year ago. The Black and Gold fell to 0-2 after a 35-27 setback to Carolina and in their season finale the Saints lost to the Cats 44-38.
In 2012 the Saints did not have much to cheer about, but one high point of the season came when the Saints knocked off the previously undefeated Falcons 31-27 in the Superdome. However the Birds returned the favor by clipping the Saints 23-13 in the final meeting of the season between the two rivals.
New Orleans has owned the Falcons in the Sean Payton era. The Saints have compiled an 11-3record versus Atlanta since the 2006 season. Now we bring in the other teams on this seasons schedule.
The Saints will face two teams that they use to play on a regular basis in the old NFC West. The Saints will battle the Rams and 49ers this season. Against the Rams, the Saints have won 31 times and lost 39. The last meeting between the two former division foes took place back in 2011 when St. Louis upset the Saints 31-21.
Against San Francisco the Saints are 24-46-2. The 49ers handed the Saints a 31-21 loss last season in a game that New Orleans was trying to get over .500 on the season. That loss to the 49ers sent the Saints on a three-game losing streak and basically ended their season.
The Saints will also face the Seattle Seahawks of the NFC West this season. Seattle and the Saints are tied with 6 wins each in the series with the last date being a playoff match-up in which the Saints lost on the road 41-36 to end their season.
The Saints will battle the Arizona Cardinals this season as well. The Saints last meeting with Arizona did not turn out so good as the Black and Gold fell on the road to the Cardinals 30-20 back in 2010. Arizona leads the series 14-12.
New Orleans will face members of the AFC East this season. The last time the Black and Gold matched up with the AFC East the Saints swept the division and went on to win the Super Bowl.
In 2009 the Saints beat the Bills, Jets, Dolphins and Patriots. New Orleans beat the Buffalo Bills 27-7 in late September of 2009 in a game that featured a strong second half from RB Pierre Thomas. The Saints lead the series with the Bills 5-4.
The Saints also beat the NY Jets 24-10 back in the 2009 season. New Orleans holds a 6-5 edge against the Jets in the all-time series.
The Black and Gold pulled off one of the best comebacks in club history with a trip to South Florida in 2009. The Saints fell behind by three scores before storming back for a 46-34 win over the Dolphins. The Dolphins lead the series 4-6.
In one of the most anticipated home games in Saints History, the Black and Gold told the nation that they would be legit Super Bowl contenders with a MNF 38-17 blowout win over the Patriots. The Patriots do still lead the series versus New Orleans 8-4.
So there you have it! A little background on how the Saints have fared against the teams they will face this season.
One week from the NFL Draft, Saints Coach Payton dropped by Sports Talk to speak with me and Bobby Hebert.
The Coach talked with us about their system of building a draft board.
"For the last three weeks, the scouts are all in the offices," along with the coaches, Payton said. "It's a process of reading these players, position by position. You start with, let's say, one side of the ball or the other. You might start with the running backs, spend a day going throught the grades, listening to the the reports, trying to get your final stack. so underneath the running back column, which would be at the top of the board, you'd begin to stack these players...and then to the left, would be the various grades...So you stack and you grade the positions. You work through your offense, you work through your defense, and then you begin to see how these graded players match."
So, does the Coach focus on a particular need, or the particular player on the board?
"Certainly, we're looking closely at our defense, and that would be a priority," he told us. "So much of the attention is spent on the first round, and understandably so. But for us to really have a good draft, you have do well in those middle-later rounds and get some good players, because there are a number of them. You try to find the qualities you look for and you think they inject into your system."
The Coach also talked about getting his team ready for the challenge of getting back to the top after he's been away for a year.
"I think, number one, you've got to be honest and candid. We've talked breiefly..about this past year, about all the distractions that took place the last year," Payton said. "The key to being successful and winning is all the details, and creating that competition that's necessary. When you have that competition, everyone in that position group plays better. And it's important for us to create that."
The #2 ranked LSU Tigers are ‘steady as she goes’ on the diamond this season. LSU has been one of the most consistent teams in the nation and that consistency was again evident last week as LSU won four of five games.
LSU Coach Paul Mainieri joined Bobby and me on Sports Talk to discuss the Tigers’ week of action and what the Tigers have on their schedule this week. The Tigers are currently ranked #2 in the USA Today Coaches Top 25 while LSU sits at the #3 spot in the Baseball America poll.
The Tigers beat Southern twice last week and then won two of three games on the road against the Arkansas Razorbacks. LSU’s record currently stands at 34-3 overall on the season. Their loss to Arkansas was the first in fifteen games, but the Coach said he’s happy with taking the series from a team that was ranked #1 in the nation in the preseason.
“It was a good weekend for us,” said Mainieri. “Any time you can win two out of three at a place like Arkansas, it's quite an accomplishment. The one game we lost we ran up against the guy who's going to be the highest-drafted pitcher in all the country.”
The Tigers beat the Hogs in game one of the series, then dropped the second game before taking the series with a 5-3 win over Arkansas in the third and final game of last weekend’s SEC series.
Coach Mainieri pointed out how well his bullpen pitched in the wins over the Hogs and credited his team with playing with a lot of confidence in front of a large, rowdy Arkansas crowd.
“I think the important thing is just having the composure and the poise, and being used to that type of environment.”
LSU has four more games on tap this week including a midweek game against Grambling State before a weekend trip to Tuscaloosa to face the Crimson Tide of Alabama. Game one of the three-game series against the Tide is Friday with first pitch at 6:30PM right here on WWL Radio.
Many coaches in the National Football League agree that you can’t really give a solid grade on a draft class or a player from a particular draft class until three years have passed from the time players are drafted. However, that has not stopped folks from giving grades on the Class of 2012 for each of the 32 NFL teams. So since we are in the Big Easy and we follow the Saints, let’s give our beloved Black and Gold some grades.
Between the club’s move to go back into the first round of the 2011 draft and the sanctions levied on the Saints over the “bounty” punishment, the Saints are strapped when it comes to having draft selections. Last season the Saints had only five draft picks, and this season the team currently has only five picks as well. As it stands right now, the Saints have a pick in the 1st round (15th overall)), 3rd round (75), 4th round (109), 5th round (144) and a 6th round pick which is 183 overall.
So it would be safe to say that the Saints really need to make the most of this draft class. Other powers in the NFC like San Francisco, Atlanta, Seattle, Green Bay, NY Giants and Washington all have several more draft picks each than the Saints currently do. And, of course, the Saints did not get much out of their class of 2012 when it comes to on-field performance.
With their first pick last year the Saints selected DT Akiem Hicks in the third round of the draft. Hicks did not start in any games and Hicks finished the 2012 season with 10 tackles, one pass defended and one forced fumble.
With the team’s second pick in last year’s draft the Saints took WR Nick Toon in the fourth round. Toon was considered a fragile player while at Wisconsin for the Badgers and that title held up in his first season, as he was injured and placed on IR.
The most productive player from the 2012 draft was a fifth round pick in Samford DB Corey White. White appeared in 10 games for the Saints with four starts and made progress throughout the season.
White by far, had the most impressive season of any Saints draft pick as he recorded 31 total tackles (25 solo,) defended three passes, and had one interception. White is most definitely in the Saints’ defensive plans moving forward after making a name for himself in 2012.
Offensive guard Andrew Tiller was taken in the sixth round out of Syracuse, while the Saints final pick of the 12 draft was OT Marcel Jones. Tiller and Jones were both also placed on Injured Reserve last season.
All five of last year’s picks are still on the Saints roster but the production on-field was not much of an impact from the five players the Saints took a year ago.
An article in USA Today once again brought up the past drug use of Tyrann Mathieu while he was at LSU. USA Today writer Jarrett Bell wrote that Mathieu told an NFL assistant coach that he'd failed at least ten drug tests while at LSU.
However, after talking to both Bell and Mathieu's father today, I have to say that I have some serious questions about the article. Jarrett Bell has been our guest on SportsTalk many times, and will be on with us again, but it seems to be to be a huge claim to make about a young man and a football progam based upon second, or third-hand information.
First, Tyrone Mathieu, Tyrann's father, told me flat-out the claim that his son failed more than three tests is not true.
"My wife and I, we were called down there (to LSU,) one, two, and a third time, and we brought him home," Tyrone told me.
He says his son has been doing great in his program to stay focused and keep his eye on the prize. Tyrone said it's not the first time he's heard inaccuracies about his son, telling me that the repeated reports of Tyrann growing up on "the mean streets" of New Orleans are also off-base.
"You know, he's doing well, and then here comes another lie comes," a clearly frustratred Tyrone said. "My wife is an RN nurse, she works 12-hour shifts at night. I was working at UPS for 21 years, more than Tyrann's life...We provided a great life for him. We've got five children in the household, two adopted, of which Tyrann is one."
Tyrone said he will tell anyone who will listen that he and his wife worked hard to make sure all their kids got a private education in a great school.
"That is a good kid, and I will tell any NFL owner or coach that is a good kid who comes from good stock. He did not come from the streets, the 'mean streets' of New Orleans."
A few minutes after talking to Tyrone, USA Today writer Jarrett Bell joined me on Sports Talk.
Bell did stand by his story. However, the thing that listeners told me they had a problem with was the fact of whether the NFL assistant coach was even in the room or not when Tyrann allegedly said what he said.
"I'm the messenger, I stand by what I wrote," Bell said.
When I asked him if the coach was in the room when Mathieu made the alleged comments, Bell said, "Well, we'd have to ask the coach that."
Later, Bell said, "I'm assuming the coach was in the room, let me just say that."
"This is what I was told," Bell said. "I wasn't in the room, I wasn't there when they had the drug test. I think we all know he (Mathieu) had some issues."
And, Bell said he didn't talk to Tyrann before publishing the story.
"Well, I did not talk to him, but tried to, actually, for a couple of weeks," Bell said.
So, do I think this will hurt Tyrann's draft status? I don't think so. You know, every year, there's always one or two players that coaches and GMs seem to single out and pick on...whether it's the test score, or something else. I think it's done because they want to try to see if they can be in a better position to draft a player. It doesn't just keep randomly happening, and the NFL doesn't do nothing about it.
But, I don't think it's going to hurt the young man, I really don't. And reports like this make me understand why people get upset at the media. I know that "anonymous sources" are the name of the game, and I don't make the rules, but there's a lot of things that don't add up about this whole allegation.
Saturday, we'll hear from the former 'Honey Badger' himself. He's going to join Kristian Garic live at 5:35 to talk about this story, and about his continuing preparation for the Draft, now less than two weeks away.
If you’re counting the top teams in the National Football Conference from a year ago you have to consider San Francisco, Atlanta and Seattle atop of that pack. And when you factor in the previous NFL draft and what each of these three teams currently have in the form of picks, then you would have to say the Saints desperately need every draft pick to work out!
Last year Atlanta had six draft picks, San Fran had seven, and Seattle had 10 picks. And this year Atlanta currently has seven picks, Seattle with seven and San Francisco has a whopping 11 picks in the 2013 NFL Draft.
So what does this all mean? It means that the New Orleans Saints will have several fewer players drafted than the current best teams in the NFC. Unless things change after the 2013 NFL Draft, the Saints will have picked three fewer players that Atlanta, seven less than Seattle and eight less than the 49ers.
“It gives those teams more opportunities to get players that can make a team and eventually make an impact,” said the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert. Each of those three Super Bowl-caliber Teams also all made significant moves this off season.
And for those counting on the other playoff teams and powers in the NFC well there numbers go as this. The New York Giants had seven draft picks in 2012 and currently have eight on the books for this season. Green Bay will have made a total of 16 selections over 12 and 13 drafts with eight each year and the up and coming Washington Redskins have a total of 16 picks making nine last year and seven in the 13 NFL Draft.
Now obviously, those picks have to pan out, but off the top those teams listed above are getting several more looks at draft picks than the Saints are getting. If coaches believe, and the overwhelming majority of them do, that you build a team through the draft, then the Saints certainly need to make sure that they get the most and make the most out of their draft selections which are much lower in number than the current powers that be in the NFC.
He took a long road to make into the NFL, but since he arrived in New Orleans back in 2010, Saints center Brian de la Puente has been a solid leader on the Saints offensive line.
“I did almost have to go get a real job. It’s a dream come true to be down here in New Orleans and play for such a great organization,” de La Puente told me and Bobby Hebert on SportsTalk not long after he and the team announced his return. de la puente signed his tender offer with the Saints on Tuesday afternoon.
Brian signed on to the Saints practice squad back in October in 2010 and since has become the starting center handing the ball to one of the best in the game today in QB Drew Brees. Although de la Puente was caught between a rock and a hard place when he came to New Orleans, he just did his job and eventually landed the starting center job.
Brian spent time with six different teams in a three year span before he landed on solid ground here in New Orleans with the Saints. When Brian came to New Orleans, Jonathan Goodwin was the starter, and the Saints had just drafted what was thought to be the future center in Matt Tenat. And, to push Brian even further back on the depth chart, the Saints added future Hall of Fame center Olin Krutz when Jonathan Goodwin signed with the 49ers.
The “Cajun Cannon” says Brian is the type of guy you tend to cheer for. “He had to take the long road to get to the NFL and make a team. But now he is a proven player that is doing well in New Orleans,” Hebert told me.
Since the 2011 season, Brian has handled the center spot for 28 games in the regular season, and two playoff games as well.
Click HERE to listen to our entire interview with Brian de la Puente. And for the latest on the Black and Gold stay logged on to wwl.com.
The Tigers moved into the #1 spot in this week’s Baseball America Top 25 while LSU sits at #3 in the ESPN Top 25. LSU has not lost a game in a month and the Tigers won all four of their games last week by outscoring their opponents a combined 38-9. LSU has back-to-back games against Southern University followed by a big road trip to face the 10th ranked Arkansas Razorbacks.
Coach Paul Mainieri told me and Bobby Hebert that he's liking where his team is at right now.
“You have to be pleased with what we did. Our hitters had a great approach. Kentucky had three very good starting pitchers with low ERA’s and I thought we really took the fight to them,” Coach Mainieri said.
The Tigers dominated the Kentucky Wildcats by outscoring UK 31-6 in the three games series on the LSU campus. The Tigers JaCoby Jones was in a bit of a slump entering the Tigers series with the Wildcats but that slump is no more."
To say the LSU Baseball Team is hot right now would be very accurate. The Tigers are 30-2 overall and tied with Vanderbilt at 11-1 in SEC play.
“This past weekend was a great weekend for us,” said Mainieri.
LSU has been solid in league play with just four errors made in 12 SEC contests. Coach Mainieri said he thinks his team is becoming more complete. “I think we are a good pitching team and a good hitting team but it all starts with defense with us.”
Jones was on fire at the plate, going 8-for-13 with an average of .615. Freshman Alex Bregman continued to play as one of the nation’s best. Bregman went 7-for-16 against Kentucky and leads the Tigers in batting with an average of .441.
The mission was the same, and so was the outcome for the #2 ranked LSU Tigers Baseball Team. LSU hit the road for all four of their games last week, but being away from home was apparently not not an issue as LSU posted a perfect 4-0 mark to improve to 26-2 overall and 8-1 in SEC play.
“It was great to get a sweep on the road and it’s good to be back home this week,” said LSU Coach Paul Mainieri. LSU allowed only six runs total last week as the Tigers beat Tulane 14-1 followed by a three game sweep over Missouri.
The Tigers are ranked #2 in the USA Today Coaches Top 25 while LSU comes in at #3 in this week’s Baseball America Poll. LSU has five games this week with tilts against Alcorn State, USM and then the Tigers play a huge series against Kentucky this weekend in Baton Rouge.
Mainieri said that the Tigers series against Missouri was a tough one with LSU winning the first game 2-0 followed by a 8-0 win and LSU edged the SEC newcomers 6-5 in the series finally. “That was game was very tough. Both pitchers did a great job and Aaron Nola was outstanding for us.”
The Tigers fell behind 5-1 in the final game of the series against Missouri, only to shut down the Tigers holding them scoreless in the final seven innings with a comeback road win. Coach Mainieri said he’s glad to have his team in Louisiana all week long.