Bobby & Deke: Saints Very Aggressive in Early Stages of Free Agency
by Deke Bellavia,posted Mar 9 2017 5:39PM
The New Orleans Saints clearly had a plan on which positions they wanted to address during the Free Agency period. Just minutes into the official start of the 2017 Free Agent period in the NFL, the Saints added proven veterans at Linebacker, Wide Receiver and Offensive Guard.
“I think the Saints saw a lot of things that they think each of these players can come in and upgrade the roster,” said the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert. “I know that all three (Ginn, Klein and Warford) of these signings add experience, depth and these players have skins on the wall.
The Saints came to terms with two players from NFC South rival Carolina by inking WR Ted Ginn Jr. and Linebacker A.J. Klein. Ted Ginn has proven that he has not lost a step of his blazing speed and placing him in an offense like the Saints could mean a much needed deep threat spark the Saints have needed.
Klein is a player that looks like he’s ready to breakout and become one of the players on the rise. Klein was forced into a starting role during the 2016 season when the Panthers All-Pro LB Luke Kuechly went down with a concussion against the Saints.
Klein held down the Middle Linebacker spot the final six games of the 16 season for the Panthers serving as the QB of the Cats Defense during that time span. Klein was a 5th round pick for Carolina out of Iowa State in the 2013 NFL Draft. In four seasons Klein has 146 tackles, four sacks, four forced fumbles and one interception.
Klein can come in and add a physical, experienced presence in the middle of the Saints Defense. Ginn Jr., long known for his tremendous speed, comes to New Orleans where he looks like a good fit for what Sean Payton likes to do. Ginn Jr. has a career average of 16.6 yards per catch, 23.7 yards per average kick return and 11 yards on average each punt return. Ginn could be a big boost to Saints Special Teams that have lacked a solid, consistent returner for years.
“Look you can’t coach speed and I know Ted Ginn Jr. still has it. He can get behind defenses and he’s a big time special team’s player,” Hebert said.
Ginn Jr. has totaled 34 Touchdowns in his 11 seasons in the NFL.
The Saints also made a splash in landing one of the top available offensive linemen in Detroit’s Larry Warford. Warford was regarded as one of the top guards in Free Agency and it took the Saints only a matter of minutes to lock up the veteran OG.
Warford become one of the Lions best offensive lineman in his four years in the Motor City. Paving the way for one of the leagues most potent offensive units, Warford is best known for his run blocking skills.
“I would say he’s more known for run blocking. Now I’m not saying that Warford is not a good pass protector. But I think he’s most known for opening holes,” Hebert said. The Saints have been searching for the right mix at guard since the days of Nicks and Evans some six-seven seasons ago.
So today the Saints came out of the gates very aggressive and New Orleans addressed areas of need on offense, defense and special teams. And when you toss in the Black and Gold retaining WR Willie Snead and agreeing to a new deal with DL Nick Fairly I would have to say today was a good day for the Black and Gold.