For the past three seasons, the Saints have been so close to making it to the big game. This year they are again picked to be one of the top teams in the NFL. I previously went over my five bold predictions for the New Orleans Saints. Now let’s make some Team Award Predictions for the Black and Gold.
Make sure to check out all of our other team award predictions here.
MVP: Offensive Line
I know it isn’t a single player, but it is the single most important unit on this team. The Saints boast three first-rounders (Ryan Ramczyk, Andrus Peat, and Cesar Ruiz), a second-round pick (Erik McCoy), and a third-round pick (Terron Armstead) on this line. They can and will be dominant in opening lanes for Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray. This unit will also be keeping Drew Brees‘s jersey clean. The whole line is athletic and all have the ability to get out in space as the Saints absolutely love running their screens and short passes. This O-line is also young as Armstead is the oldest. He will be 29 later this month. At the end of the year when Brees has another MVP-type season and Kamara runs wild, this group will hold their heads high knowing it was all because of them.
Offensive Player: Alvin Kamara
This is a contract year for the former third-round pick. The Saints are going to use one of their best offensive weapons often. In 2018, Kamara touched the ball 275 times in 15 games (18.3 touches per game). He has averaged 6.1 yards per touch in his career. Going strictly on the math, if his usage increases by two touches per game from 2018, he would finish with 325 touches. At a 6.1 YPT average that would give him 1,983 YFS. With increased usage behind the aforementioned great offensive line, and looking to cash in, the 25-year-old back can certainly have his best offensive season in 2020.
Defensive Player: Cameron Jordan
Jordan has never missed a game in a Saints uniform since entering the league in 2011. He set a career-high in sacks last season at 15.5 and has had 12+ sacks each of the last three seasons. Jordan finished third behind Shaquil Barrett (19.5) and Chandler Jones (19.0) in 2019. Entering his 10th season with the Saints, Jordan is a leader on the defense. Leading the league in sacks may be tough but Cam is still just going to be 31 and he should be able to pin his ears back even more this season.
Offensive Rookie: Juwan Johnson
The UDFA wide receiver out of Oregon is a big boy. At 6’4 230 lbs. He has the size to make contested catches. Inconsistencies in route-running and drops had him fall out of the draft. Working with Brees and company should help him stay focused. He is an excellent blocker as well using his big body to bury defensive backs. The Saints have Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, and Tre’Quan Smith as their presumptive top three. Johnson will muscle his way into the mix. Sean Payton can surely use him in larger formations and he will be an asset in the down-the-field blocking game for those screens. I don’t expect huge numbers from Johnson, but he will have an impact this season.
Defensive Rookie: Zack Baun
The linebacker out of Wisconsin was a great pick for the Saints in the third round. His constant motor and energy will be welcomed. He has excellent lateral movement and can go side to side with the best to shed blocks and tackle efficiently. With injury and age affecting Demario Davis, Alex Anzalone, Kiko Alonso, and Craig Robertson, Baun will get enough playing time to make an impact whether it’s stopping RBs and TEs or rushing the passer.
Biggest Surprise: Marcus Williams
The Saints have only had two players lead the league in interceptions (Dave Whitsell with 10 in 1967 and Darren Sharper with 9 in 2009). This year Williams joins that club. He had four picks last season in 15 games and 13 passes defended. With Marshon Lattimore and Janoris Jenkins covering the corner spots, Williams should be able to play center field. He can read and react well as any free safety. With teams likely to be forced to pass, Williams has the opportunity to double last season’s total and come away with eight picks.
Biggest Disappointment: Malcolm Jenkins
While he can still make plays anywhere on the field, I think his best days have passed him by. He had a very good season last year, but at 32, there are younger players who will step up. Jenkins is a solid free safety still. His impact this season though will be felt in the locker room and teaching players rather than on the field production.
Questions and comments?
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Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images