NEW ORLEANS, LA -- The New Orleans Saints have been entering the 2021 NFL training camp. Although there are some spots they need to fix to face the incoming season.
Two vital spots that the Saints need to address are cornerbacks depth and wide receivers depth. Although they did address the cornerbacks, New Orleans doesn't think that the wide receivers' depth should be added again.
The Saints recently added Brian Poole, a veteran cornerback, into their practice roster. But as Poole mostly play in the slot cornerback position, they need to find remaining cornerbacks to play opposite star defensive back Marshon Lattimore, a three-time pro-bowler.
"We're familiar with (Poole). He's a good competitor, he's tough. I think he's a really good tackler and he's played at a high level on some pretty good teams," said Saints head coach Sean Payton about Poole.
Poole previously spends time with Saints' divisional rival Atlanta Falcons for three years, back in 2016 to 2018, before spending the last two years with the New York Jets. In 38 starts over 70 games, Poole accumulated 298 tackles and six sacks, and seven interceptions. He also had 33 passes defended, five fumbles, and a special team's tackle in his NFL career.
Poole is a good signing by the Saints. Nevertheless, Payton thinks that they need a pure cornerback who can play on outside of the defense.
"There's still a position there. There's still a player there that we need to find. We'll continue looking and looking at everyone that we think might be a candidate to fill that 'must. Brian certainly has been a slot player, a position he excelled at. I think it's important to narrow that focus down to an outside player," adds Payton about an urgency in the cornerback spot.
With cornerbacks' depth solved, there is a lingering problem in the wide receivers' depth.
Previously, the Saints had lost their main wideout, Michael Thomas to open the season. The former 2019 NFL's Offensive Player of the Year was placed on the PUP list following ankle surgery in June after a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Payton then said that the team should have addressed wide receiver depth earlier this offseason. He also talked about Thomas' injury, which he suffered in the 2020 regular-season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
On the other side, Saints' General Manager Mickey Loomis said the team likes current receivers. Besides the newly acquired veteran Chris Hogan, the Saints still have fourth-year wideout Tre'Quan Smith, third-year wideout Marquez Callaway and Deonte Harris, an All-Pro punt returner in 2019.
"(Thomas' injury) was treated conservatively during the season, he came back, he played in the last two postseason games,Obviously, with hindsight, we would have preferred that surgery to be earlier, in February or March. But it wasn't. It is what it is. He's had a good result so far and hopefully we'll get him back sooner rather than later," said Loomis about Thomas' injury.
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