Victor Butler Screws With Draftniks

12

 
beers4

Since the Saints got the outside linebacker they needed in free agency, what position will they target in the first round of the draft? Outside linebacker? Ummmmm...no. Don't think so.

 
Quick Out, March 28, 2013

The Saints have finally tracked down and captured Victor Butler.

This signing brings to the fore two questions. One of them, of course, is “Will Victor Butler really bring all that much to the Saints’ pass rush?” Of course, that remains to be seen. Well, actually, so does the other one, but it won’t remain unseen quite so long, and it’s fascinating in its own right.

“What does this signing mean for the Saints’ draft plans?” Consider this: in its linebacking corps, New Orleans now has Jonathan Vilma and Curtis Lofton in the middle. David Hawthorne and Will Herring can perform as backups to the starters—Hawthorne may even start over Vilma. On the outside, they now have Butler, along with Martez Wilson and Junior Galette, and Hawthorne can perform as an outside linebacker as well. [Edit: not to mention Chris Chamberlain, whom I forgot all about in the original post.]

Do we really need a top pass rusher in the draft anymore?

And if we do take, say, Jarvis Jones, who sits? Will our starting outside linebackers be Jones and Wilson, in which case big free agent signing Victor Butler rides him some more pine? Or will it be Jones and Butler, in which case Martez gets relegated to “bust” status without much of a chance. Or do we make our top draft choice languish on the bench?

I just can’t see this being a smart strategy. It seems to me that the Saints have been trying as best they can to plug the linebacking corps through free agency both this year and last; and now, in theory at least, they have a pretty good one. Butler, Wilson, Hawthorne, and Lofton looks damned strong on paper, and shame (and woe) unto any coach who can’t turn that lineup into a winning one.

What remains? The single most critical position for a 3-4 defense: a true nose tackle. If you look through mock drafts, not many of them have the most highly-touted, Star Lotulelei, available at 15. But both Johnathan Hankins and John Jenkins are graded as potential first-rounders, and they’re usually there. What’s more, this is complicated by the fact that the Saints don’t have a second-rounder. They could probably risk taking someone else in the first round, trusting in one of the top prospects to fall to them 32 spots later. But they can’t wait 60 spots—which is their actual next pick, in the third.

If they want the best nose tackle available, they’ll have to take him in the first. If they think they can get by with what they have, or with one of the lower-rated tackles available in the draft, then their first round is now wide open.

But the chance that that pick will be a rush linebacker may have just flown the coop.

Posted by Himself in Quick Out | 12 comments

12 Comments

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  • HollywooMarch 28, 2013 at 2:56 pm

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    Left Tackle. That’s is what the Saints will draft. The single most serious need we have, even before the signing of Butler.

    We gotta wait another fucking year for a 1st round rush linebacker. Sigh…

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    • HimselfMarch 28, 2013 at 3:11 pm

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      Martez Wilson is bigger and faster than, for instance, Barkevious Mingo. I for one can’t wait to find out what he can do as a 3-4 rush linebacker.

      As for left tackle, I’m fine with that. I know all the “experts” say the Saints don’t value tackles, but that’s bullshit. They know how much better they’d be with an elite tackle on the left, believe me.

      I also forgot to mention that I think it was going to be either Butler or Asomugha, not both. So it’s Butler.

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  • Rob Ryan's VanMarch 28, 2013 at 5:28 pm

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    I’m glad you mentioned the NT thing. Completely escaped me. The fact that we’re not hearing much about that possibility probably means you’re onto something.

    There’s obviously a reason nobody is projecting a QB or RB with the #15 pick. But NT definitely should be in the conversation, and it’s been largely left out in favor of OLB, LT, defensive back, and WR.

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  • PhilistineMarch 28, 2013 at 6:18 pm

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    Ok, let’s scratch tight end, cornerback and linebacker off the early-rounds draft list. We still don’t know about Harper, so we might need even more secondary help. We don’t know what Butler signed for, but if it’s more than a case of Juicy Fruit, the Saints will have to let go of Greer to get Asomugha. The value of that swap is debatable; one can make a case for either side of the deal. Greer isn’t big and he’s been injured a lot, but he has been our best corner ever since the Saints signed him. Asomugha is no spring chicken himself, and his play was less than inspirational at Philly, but he was a beast when Ryan worked with him in Oakland. If the Saints stand pat at CB, I’m ok with that.

    We definitely need help on both lines; LT is a glaring need, unless they think someone can slide over from another position on the line. On the defensive line, we need a prospect or two who won’t just be a 4-3 convert. Many people talk about drafting a NT, which suits me fine. Barring any further free agent signings, OT/G, NT and SS seem like the most likely early picks.

    Also, don’t sell Vilma short. He was ineffective early last season, but he got stronger as the year progressed. I think he was still recovering from his knee surgery. He’s not young, but if he’s healthy, he still has a lot left in the tank. So, yeah, the linebacker position seems to be set at this point.

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    • Saint ChristopherMarch 29, 2013 at 12:36 am

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      I keep reading that Vilma struggled in the 3-4 when he played in New York. His solo tackles dropped off tremendously during his last year in New York (by nearly a third). However, as he has aged and succumbed to injury, he’s obviously lost a step or two (steps I don’t think he’ll get back at this point). Could a return to the 3-4 scheme actually help him at this phase in his career? It seems like it would give him less ground to cover–meaning he wouldn’t have to be as mobile, and he could dedicate more attention to less field in the middle.

      I’d really hate to see Greer go (he is the only cornerback in recent memory to play inspired football whilst donning a Saints jersey). Asomugha is the same age as Greer (a little taller and a bit heavier). They’re the same age and have been in the league nearly the same amount of time. Greer, on one hand, is injury prone. Asomugha, on the other, is in a funk. Their stat lines throughout their careers are nearly identical (Asomugha–who has one more season under his belt than Greer–has 22 more tackles, and three more interceptions).

      I’m not sure I’m comfortable dumping Greer for Asomugha.

      PRob, on the other hand…

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  • PhilistineMarch 29, 2013 at 4:41 pm

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    Saints Sign Former Cowboys DE Kenyon Coleman

    Care to Photoshop a Cowboys helmet in black and gold?

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    • HimselfMarch 29, 2013 at 10:11 pm

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      Despite a published report that the New Orleans Saints have signed free agent defensive lineman Kenyon Coleman, a league source said the Saints haven’t signed the former Dallas Cowboys player.

      Source

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      • PhilistineMarch 29, 2013 at 10:23 pm

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        Aw, why spoil a good story with the facts? After all, this is sports journalism we’re talking about.

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        • HimselfMarch 29, 2013 at 10:37 pm

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          Yeah, and it makes me feel all oogy to be relying on NOLA.com…but right now, they’re just about the only source that cares about Kenyon Coleman.

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          • HimselfMarch 29, 2013 at 11:04 pm

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            Anyway…

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            • PhilistineMarch 29, 2013 at 11:33 pm

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              Me likey. Here’s to Sean Payton, Scott Shanle, Scott Fujita, Rob Ryan, Victor Butler, maybe Kenyon Coleman, Bill Parcels in spiritu and any other former Dallas Cowboys later associated with the Saints.

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              • PhilistineMarch 30, 2013 at 12:26 am

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                …Rob Petitti, Terrance Copper, Dan Campbell, Julius Jones. Of course, they got LaRoi Glover from the Saints, da bastids.

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