Who knows how long the NFL season will be at a standstill. However, if the NFL owners and players were to come to an agreement and there is football in the 2011-2012 season, there is a good chance that Louisiana natives or Saints fans will be rejoicing.You do not have to be ESPN’s draft expert to know that the New Orleans Saints definitely finished among the best on draft night. This weekend at the NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York, the Saints were responsible for two of the 32 first-round selections, one at No. 24 and another at No. 28.
Cameron Jordan, first-team All-Pac 10 defensive end from Cal, was their first selection. The Saints organization was astounded when Jordan slipped to the No. 24 spot. The Saints felt that he could possibly step in immediately and play due to the suspension of defensive lineman Will Smith.
Jordan is a big, strong, versatile defender who gives the opposing offense no room to operate in the backfield. During his tenure at Cal, he finished with 16.5 sacks and 34 tackles for a loss. Jordan will have to make a minor adjustment playing in New Orleans. At Cal, he played in 3-4 defenses, but under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, he will have to get used to playing in the 4-3 defenses.
Mark Ingram, 2009 Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama, was the Saints’ second pick. Ingram addressed a glaring need of a running back to help balance out their offensive attack. Last year the Saints were ranked 17th among rushing leaders in the NFL, but with their new addition in Ingram, the Saints are looking to move up among the rankings and instantly improve their chances of returning to the Super Bowl.
Ingram is a great inside runner. He can take contact and break tackles. He will be excellent in moving the chains. In red zones, he is the total opposite of running back Reggie Bush. No one projected him to slip so low in the draft. Skip Bayless said via Twitter, “Mark Ingram at TWENTY-EIGHT a steal for the Saints. Has some Emmitt (Smith) in him. Will immediately contribute, provide hammer Reggie can’t.”
The Saints are still optimistic about Bush, although he said via Twitter, “It’s been fun New Orleans.” Any direction Bush takes, Saints fans are still behind their team.
“It doesn’t matter who the Saints get,” said New Orleans native Lacey Mayo, a sophomore mass communication major. “That’s always going to be my team. But with the addition of Mark Ingram, you know we are going to win it all.