Broncos 2012 Opponents Progress - NFC South - The Saints

Tracy Porter will be suiting up for the Broncos when they meet the New Orleans Saints in Week 8 of the 2012 NFL season. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos will take on the NFC South — New Orleans, Atlanta, Carolina and Tampa Bay — as part of the NFL’s schedule rotation in 2012. In part 1 of this series, we take a look at the New Orleans Saints post draft situation with the knowledge that this is a team that has suffered the loss of it’s head coach, GM and Defensive Coordinator as well as 4 key Defensive players to suspensions.

New Orleans Saints

The Saints finished in 1st place and won the NFC South with a record of 13-3. After defeating the Detroit Lions 45-28 in the Wildcard game, they lost to the San Francisco 49ers 32-36 in the Divisional Playoff.

Franchise Player

Quarterback Drew Brees (exclusive; tendered $14.436 million; increased to $16.371 million on April 20).

Players Lost

LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar ran off to the Rams, WR Robert Meachem bolted for the Chargers, OG Carl Nicks got a huge raise to join the Buccaneers, CB Tracy Porter is now a Bronco, DT Shaun Rogers signed with the Super Bowl winning Giants and CB Leigh Torrence became a Redskins.

Players Re-signed

S Jonathon Amaya: Potential ERFA; $540,000/1 yr.
WR Adrian Arrington: Potential ERFA; $540,000/1 yr.
WR Marques Colston: Potential UFA; $40
QB Chase Daniel: Potential RFA; $1M/1 yr, $300,000 SB.
C Brian de la Puente: Potential ERFA; $540,000/1 yr.
LS Justin Drescher: Potential ERFA; $540,000/1 yr.
DE Turk McBride: Potential UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
LB Jonathan Casillas: RFA tendered at $1.26M with no compensation; terms unknown.
PK John Kasay: UFA; terms unknown.
WR Courtney Roby: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

Players Acquired

DT Remi Ayodele: FA Vikings; terms unknown.
DT Brodrick Bunkley: UFA Broncos; $25M/5 yrs, $9 Million guaranteed.
LB Chris Chamberlain: UFA Rams; $4.05M/3 yrs, $1.2M SB.
OG Ben Grubbs: UFA Ravens; $36M/5 yrs, $10M SB/$16M guaranteed.
LB David Hawthorne: UFA Seahawks; 5 yrs, terms unknown.
MLB Curtis Lofton: UFA Falcons; $33.5M/6 yrs, $5M SB/$7.8M guaranteed/$6M base in 2017 voidable.

Team Needs

The Saints went out and got two Outside Linebackers (David Hawthorne and Chris Chamberlain) during Free Agency to fix a chink in the Defensive armor. ILB Curtis Lofton was brought in to take suspended Jonathan Vilma’s spot. They signed Defensive Tackle Brodrick Bunkley away from the Broncos and also signed Remi Ayodele to add depth. Guard Carl Nicks grabbed a big payday in Tampa, so the Saints countered by signing Ben Grubbs away from the Ravens. Re-signing Marques Colston doesn’t make up for the loss of Robert Meachem, Tracy Porter needs to be replaced and upgrading the Strong Safety position is a must. New Orleans addressed the positions of their suspended players and going into the draft, there priorities should have been Wide Receiver, Cornerback, Strong Safety, Offensive and Defensive Line depth.

Thankfully the Saints have a roster abounding in talent roster because they didn’t have any picks until the 3rd round. They previously traded away their 1st-round pick to the New England Patriots last year, in order to select running back Mark Ingram. Because of the bounty they lost their 2nd-round selection.

Draft Picks

Round Pick Player Position Height Weight College
3 89 Akiem Hicks Defensive Tackle 6-5 324 University of Regina
4 122 Nick Toon Wide Receiver 6-3 220 Wisconsin
5 162 Corey White Defensive Back 6-1 210 Samford
6 179 Andrew Tille Guard 6-5 334 Syracuse
7 234 Marcel Jones Tackle 6-7 320 Nebraska


New Orleans managed to fill nearly all their needs, but didn’t completely address the Defensive backfield. Maybe they can find a gold nugget among the four DB’s they signed in College Free Agency.

CFAs

Furman LB Kadarron Anderson; Middle Tennessee State WR Malcolm Beyah; TCU DE Braylon Broughton; Wisconsin TE Jake Byrne; Appalachian State RB Travaris Cadet; Jacksonville State DB A.J. Davis; Washburn C Brian Folkerts; Miami WR Chris Givens; Monmouth S Jose Grumbs; Citadel WR Kevin Hardy; Missouri T Dan Hoch; Temple LB Stephen Johnson; Arkansas S Jerico Nelson; Georgia Southern RS Laron Scott; Arizona State T Aderious Simmons; Boise State LB Aaron Tevis; Oklahoma State S Johnny Thomas; Tulsa DE/DT Tyrunn Walker

The Broncos square up with the Saints during Week 8, right after their Bye. By then, the entire league should know how the Saints have handled the adversity they brought upon themselves.

Go Broncos!

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