Ralph Malbrough / Contributing Writer
After the worst off-season in recent football memory we finally get relief this week with the NFL Draft. Unless you love reading and seeing NFL reporters explaining court proceedings, players and owners bitching, and getting absolutely no real football news of any value than this off-season was your dream come true.
For the rest of us it made winter seem like endless night. Even though the draft on Thursday night isn’t nearly as fun as the all football festival weekend it used to be I’ll take it because I’m desperate.
I don’t care about the recent court ruling in favor of the players. Roger Goodell claims in the Wall Street Journal a players’ victory in court will turn the NFL into ‘Mad Max beyond Thunderdome’.
Chaos will reign with free agent players roaming the lands from town to town pillaging and burning children’s jerseys! There won’t be a draft and that would kill Mel Kiper and Mel Kiper’s hair keeps the earth on its axis. A Players victory equals Armageddon! Or maybe Goodell is totally in the bag for his bosses, NFL owners.
Thursday night there still is a draft so what should the Saints do to not have an angry mob descend on Airline Drive and demand Mickey Loomis watch Khloe and Lamar Season One as punishment for his draft sins?
I won’t pretend like I know all these players we see highlights of and hear Mel Kiper and Todd McShay argue over. A lot of mock drafts have the Saints picking defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson from Temple. He sounds pretty good from what I’ve read but because God loves me I’ve been blessed never to watch a Temple football game since I was placed on earth.
Is he any good? I think Temple plays games against high schools and orphaned children so his stats could be inflated. If the Saints do pick him by September I’ll talk myself into believing he’s Reggie White, James Bond, the Pope, and rainbows all rolled into one perfect draft pick. Always remember people that the off-season is made for one thing and it is irrational exuberance.
I want to be able to talk myself into the Saints winning another Super Bowl once the draft is over. I need to be able to believe the Saints have added a player/players to make their offense #1 in scoring again and added a player who can contribute to the front seven on defense.
The Saints won a Super Bowl because of offense. In 2009 they led the NFL with 510 points but last year they slid to 11th (384 points). The lasting image from 2010 for me wasn’t Marshawn Lynch running through the defense it’s the Saints failing on two different first and goal situations in Seattle and getting stoned on fourth and a foot. The 2009 killing machine known as the Saints offense was spectacular to watch every week and selfishly I want it back in my life.
I’m totally in the bag for Mark Ingram from Alabama. I consume as much SEC football as my brain can handle and I think Ingram is going to be the next Curtis Martin. He’ll just grind out 1,200 yards for about five years.
I’ve heard all the rumors about his knee causing him to drop on draft boards and I really hope the Saints are spreading them.
Ten years ago the Saints drafted another running back from the SEC who had injury concerns and it worked out just fine. Deuce McAllister got injured but in today’s NFL what great back last more than five to seven years? If you told me Ingram=Deuce I’d sign the paper work no questions asked.
The Saints could also use some pass rush help on defense, as Will Smith seems to be on the wrong side of his career. The Saints finished 18th in sacks in 2010. Sacks aren’t the end all be all but I‘ll ask you this question, “Besides Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith who in the front seven on defense couldn’t be upgraded?”
A defensive lineman would be nice but if you are hoping the Saints pick a linebacker early don’t hold your breath because since Mickey Loomis has been GM the highest they’ve drafted a linebacker is 60th. All Scott Shanle haters look to be out of luck.
Teams not being able to trade players for draft picks because of the lockout hurt the Saints because as long as Drew Brees is an elite QB the Saints should be in ‘Win Now Screw the Future’ mode. If winning another Super Bowl or two means in 2015 the Saints future is gone because they mortgaged it to win a title in 2013 I’m completely fine with it. The credit card should be maxed out to make the Drew Brees/Sean Payton era as fantastic as possible. The Saints might never have this again so no regrets people. Whatever it takes to win now isn’t only acceptable it’s encouraged.
I think the draft itself will be even more entertaining this year because of no free agency. Teams couldn’t fill needs before the draft by signing players so I expect teams who usually butcher the draft to be even more incompetent and desperate in 2011. Mel Kiper hasn’t had a major meltdown in a few years. He’s like a volcano due for an eruption. Cincinnati I’m looking at you.
If the Saints pass on Ingram and don’t add something to the offense my recap column will be very angry and my new twitter feed might not be suitable for children. You’ve been warned.
Ralph Malbrough is a Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, find him on facebook, or follow him on twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/MilneMalbrough