Saints head into summer with deep and talented roster

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Jared Cook
A big 2019 season is expected in New Orleans from free agent Jared Cook at tight end (Photo: Parker Waters).

Here’s some black and gold fat to chew as the New Orleans Saints head to the summer break.

In OTA’s and minicamp, tight end Jared Cook received a lot of hype for his ball-catching skills.

The hype is well deserved.

If you are looking for a fantasy football tight end, Cook would seem to be an excellent choice. He has pieced together an excellent NFL career on mostly bad teams.

In four years in Tennessee, Cook played on just one winning team that went just 9-7. After three losing years in St. Louis, he went to Green Bay where he was a solid contributor on a 10-win team.

During the last two seasons with Oakland, Cook shined. No need to elaborate on the quality of the teams there.

So, my guess is he will flourish in one of the best offenses in football. Cook has not had great players around him. On a Super Bowl contender in New Orleans, he will.

I would also be a buyer of running back Latavious Murray.

While it’s true Murray’s next touchdown reception in the NFL will be his first, his one-cut and up-the-field running style would seem to be a perfect fit for the Saints offense.

Like Cook, my guess is Murray will flourish in his new surroundings.

Since Murray arrived in the NFL in 2014, he has played on one top 10 offense. Here’s the offensive rankings for the Vikings (2017-2018) and Raiders (2014-2016) since Murray arrived in the league and played for those two teams – 20, 11, 6, 24, and 32.

Now, here’s the Saints offensives have ranked from 2018 back to 2014 – 8,2,1,2,1.

Murray will also run behind a talented offensive line. Four of five starters return plus the Saints appear to have a football-sized man crush on their second round pick, center Erik McCoy.

In the offseason, we haven’t seen McCoy hit anyone but the rookie sure looks the part.

The Saints offensive line was one of the better in the NFL last season. All four starters, other than left tackle Terron Armstead, started at least 13 games. Armstead missed six games, including five late in the season.

Was it just a coincidence that the Saints offense hit a rough patch when Armstead was sidelined?

In 2018, Drew Brees was under 4,000 yards passing for the first time with New Orkeans. However, along with Brees’ 3,992 passing yards were 32 touchdown, only five interceptions and a pass completion percentage of 74.4.

In addition, his yards per attempt was a winning barometer. Brees averaged 8.2 yards per pass attempt. Looking back at the other top Saints teams of the era, that’s quite good. In 2011, he averaged 8.3 yards per attempt. In 2009, he averaged 8.5 yards per attempt.

What do those years have in common? The Saints won 13 regular season games each season.

This week, the Saints signed defensive end Cam Jordan to an extension worth $52.5 million. He is as solid an investment as the team can make.

Jordan started 15 games as a rookie in 2011. Every year since, he has started all 16 regular season games.

With 71.5 career quarterback sacks to date, Jordan could very well eclipse Rickey Jackson’s club record of 115 sacks if he plays the five years remaining on his contract.

This week, a reporter asked head coach Sean Payton if Jordan is elite?

Payton said when his career is over “we can decide the elite, the great, the good, the very good, the 10’s, the eights.”

At this moment, Jordan looks like a nine-plus and as dependable as the day is long.

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Ed Daniels

Ed Daniels

WGNO Sports Director/106.1 FM

Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter…

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