3 Things We Learned About The New Orleans Saints This Offseason

The New Orleans Saints narrowly missed the postseason last year by finishing second in the NFC South, but they're expecting to return to the playoffs next season. This offseason figures to play a big role in determining if New Orleans can continue their success in the foreseeable future, so here are three things we learned:

1) It's all about the system

In one of the biggest surprises of the offseason, New Orleans sent star tight end Jimmy Graham - arguably the best player at the position - to Seattle, indicating the belief that Drew Brees and Sean Payton could overcome the loss of their biggest weapon. The Saints have been reliant on their passing game (particularly the Brees-to-Graham combo), but it's clear they're ready to change their identity somewhat to get back to the playoffs.

2) Defense is now a priority

The Saints made improving their defense, which ranked 31st in the league last season, their top priority this season, and took massive steps to do so. They signed former Seahawks and Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner to a three-year deal and upgraded their linebacking core with rookies Stephone Anthony and Hau’oli Kikaha. All three should have a major impact on the field next season, giving the unit a big boost as a whole.

3) Reliance on young players

Not only are the Saints counting on Anthony and Kikaha to have an immediate impact, they're also expecting first-round pick Andrus Peat (OL) and second year wideout Brandin Cooks to become the go-to guys at their respective positions. That's a lot to put on young players in this league, but the Saints don't really have a choice.

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