After three straight 7-9 showings, the New Orleans Saints overcame a rough start in 2017 and won the NFC South. What can they do in free agency to improve?
After dropping their first two games of 2017, the New Orleans Saints looked like they were on course for another 7-9 finish. Such was the case the previous season. As it was in 2015…and 2014.
Instead, 0-2 was followed by eight consecutive victories. It would add up to an 11-5 finish and the club’s first division title since 2011. A wild card win over the Carolina Panthers (their third win over the team in ’17) was followed by a heartbreaking 29-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings one week later.
So was this past season somewhat of a fluke or a sign of a big-time turnaround? In any case, here’s what the team may do in free agency to increase their chances of reaching Super Bowl LIII.
5. Paul Worrilow, Detroit Lions
This won’t be the only time that the Saints’ linebacking corps will be mentioned in this piece. To start, defensive coordinator Dennis Allen saw his unit overcame a horrendous start to become one of the main reasons the team reached the playoffs for the first time since 2013 and captured the NFC South for the first time since ’11.
When it comes to the team’s primary producers in this area, Craig Robertson (77), Manti Te’o (62) and A.J. Klein (54) all made their presence felt. There was also promising rookie Alex Anzalone, who started the first four games before going down for the year with a shoulder injury. All four of those aforementioned players return but none of them started all 16 games this past year.
In terms of depth, versatile linebacker Paul Worrilow – who has spent his five-year NFL career with the Atlanta Falcons (4) and Detroit Lions (1) – offers options both inside and outside. He comes off a year in the Motor City in which he played in 13 games, made eight starts and totaled 30 tackles. Could he be one of many linebackers the Saints are looking at this offseason?