Tuesday, 21 February 2012 19:37

Spagnuolo's Saints Assignment: Assess Needs For Free Agency, Draft

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Saints Linebackers’ NeedsSpagnuolo

The focus for the New Orleans Saints and the NFL as a whole in late February is assessing current talent, hoping to keep what you have and want, finding the gems of playmakers in the draft and the agency market.

All of this analysis is refined by the team’s needs versus the available talent.

As published on ESPN, in discussing an analysis by Gary Horton also of ESPN, “For the Saints, Horton has outside linebacker at the top of the list and I couldn’t agree more. Scott Shanle is aging and the Saints never found a solid replacement for Scott Fujita. They have high hopes for Martez Wilson, but I think they’ll add another linebacker in the draft or free agency. “


One of the persons who will have great input as to who is needed on the defense side is new coach Steve Spagnuolo. 

Getting Steve Spagnuolo as Saints defensive coordinator was rated as one of the best assistant coach hires of the offseason, according to pfp.com which wrote: "There is a reason almost every team that wanted a coordinator was after Spags. He's a Jimmy Johnson disciple, who is the former defensive guru. He should serve the Saints well. His predecessor, Gregg Williams, should be good for the Rams, too...Former Saints center Jerry Fontenot is the new Packers tight end coach...


Former LSU players cornerback Morris Claiborne and defensive tackle Michael Brockers are expected to work out this week at the NFL Combine at Indianapolis. Both are top prospects.

Other ex-Tigers invited to the Combine were LB Ryan Baker, CB Ron Brooks, QB Jordan Jefferson, WR Reuben Randle and S Brandon Taylor. Conspicuously missing from the list is QB Jarrett Lee, who is working out with a quarterbacks coach to get ready for the draft in April.

Even as top prospects will show the league your time in the 40-yard dash, work through the position drills, take the Wonderlick Test, showcase your talents and teams will interview you.

It's grind for all the prospects because it's tough to produce your best times with the amount of stress and adversity the NFL puts you through during your stay in Indy.

Many players have spent the last six-eight weeks at training facilities preparing for the workouts. It cost the agents from $1,500-$2,200 a week to send their players to these facilities. If the players  wants to wait until his school's pro day, it would cost the agent another $4,000-$6,000 in training costs. That's a lot of money even for agents.

Claiborne is rated as the top corner in this year's draft. He's tall and long which allows him to play big off the line. However, he showcases the footwork, balance and quick twitch ability of a much smaller cornerback out of the breaks. With improved technique he should mature into one of the best corners in the league.

Professionalfootballpost.com rates Claiborne as the second-best prospect in the draft and Brockers No. 6

Brockers might be a little raw and could have used some more work at the college level. However, he's an NFL talent with "plus" upside, but can also come in and play vs. the run at a high level right away. Should get looks at both the three and five-technique spots and in the scouts' minds has the ability to become one of the better defensive linemen in the NFL, down the line. 

New Orleans Hornets 

Forward David West said he made the decision to depart from the Hornets after eight seasons because he wanted to play for an up-and-coming team like the Pacers rather than stick around for a rebuilding program. "I don't have any hard feelings," West told Indystar.com. "I enjoyed my time in  New Orleans. It's one of the most unique places to live in the United States. But it just got to a point, especially with what was going on with the team --  and it didn't just start, it was kind of a domino effect, certain things happening over the last few years -- just made that situation way too unstable for what I needed at that point in my career."... 

A group called "Le Krewe d'Etat" put together a float mocking the Tigers' national championship efforts with everything from LSU's inability to get past midfield to quarterback Jarrett Lee's rotting away on the bench to Bobby Hebert's tirade in the postgame press conference. It also has a caricature of Nick Saban holding up the crystal football wearing a Superman outfit. Nothing was off limits...Southern coach Stump Mitchell, 52, has interviewed with the Rams and may return to St. Louis as running backs coach.  He was a back like Darren Sproles and played with the St. Louis Cardinals for nine years...

by Ed Staton

by Ed Staton

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