METAIRIE, La. — The biggest opening on the Saints’ roster isn’t on defense.
It’s at left tackle, the position Jermon Bushrod held down for the past four seasons and helped protect quarterback Drew Brees’ blindside.
Asked about the position during a pre-draft news conference, Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis didn’t deliver a real confidence-boosting answer to those who follow New Orleans.
"Look we've got Charles Brown and Jason Smith competing there,” Loomis said. “We've got some other young players. Clearly, we don't have a name on that magnet at starting left tackle yet, we'd have to look at every option.”
Brown is the odds on favorite to get the first shot. The Saints drafted him in the second round of the 2010 draft with their eye on the future.
But after getting through his rookie year healthy, he hasn’t made it through the past two uninjured. In 20111 he went on injured reserve in November with a hip pointer. A season later, he tore up his knee and went on IR after his recovery progressed too slowly.
Smith, meanwhile, is a free agent who signed with the Saints this offseason after failing to live up to the expectations St. Louis had after drafting him No. 2 overall in 2009.
Loomis wouldn’t say the Saints wouldn’t pick up a left tackle, but acknowledged that he’s hamstrung by where New Orleans sits in the draft and what free agents are out there.
“We can only select what's available to us in the draft and only select what becomes available to us in a veteran player,” Loomis said. “We'll pay attention to that position."