24. NEW ORLEANS (13-4)
LAST SEASON: Saints weathered record-setting QB Drew Brees’ five-game absence with hand injury to match franchise best with 13 regular season victories. But they were tripped up in overtime by Minnesota in playoff opener. All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas carried offense with NFL single-season record 149 catches for 1,725.
FREE AGENCY: Lost S Vonn Bell, CB Eli Apple, LB A.J. Klein, QB Teddy Bridgewater, WR Keith Kirkwood. Didn’t re-sign WR Ted Ginn Jr. Signed WR Reggie Sanders, S Malcolm Jenkins, FB Michael Burton, DB Deatrick Nicholls. Re-signed QB Drew Brees, DT David Onyemata, G Andrus Peat, CB P.J. Williams, DE Noah Spence, S D.J. Swearinger, DB Justin Hardee, LS Zach Wood, OL Cameron Tom.
THEY NEED: WR, LB, CB, TE.
THEY DON’T NEED: RB, OL, DT, P, K.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: Oklahoma LB Kenneth Murray, TCU CB Jeff Gladney, Baylor WR Denzel Mims.
OUTLOOK: Saints have retained most key players that helped them post 13-3 records each of past two seasons. With no glaring needs, they seek playmakers who can solidify Super Bowl credentials. Explosive receiver or quick, versatile linebacker could suit immediate needs. Also could be tempted to snag pass rusher or even QB viewed as potential successor to 41-year-old Brees.
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