What I’m about to say will anger anyone who’s ever lined up between the white lines in a competitive football game.
Regardless, I’ll say it anyway because it’s the truth and sometimes the truth hurts.
So here goes: the Saints should tank and mail it in for the remainder of the 2012-13 season in the name of an elite draft pick.
Furthermore, once they receive their Top 5 pick, they should then trade it to another team for multiple picks to try and replenish their depleted roster loaded with overrated and overpaid players.
I know, I know, I know. You all are outraged now because you think the Saints still have a shot to make a run this season.
Newsflash: they don’t. Your team lost to the Chiefs and Panthers and only beat the Chargers because of terrible officiating. Get over it. The dream season is over until next year.
They are far closer to being the worst roster in the league than they are to being the best.
Add that up with Sean Payton not coming back until 2013 (maybe) and there’s no reason to not accept defeat this time around and begin to prepare for the future.
The Saints’ defense is a mess – hands-down the worst unit in the NFL. It’s really not that close, either.
Seriously, can you name three players within the group that are worth keeping for the foreseeable future?
Curtis Lofton is a good, solid player – I guess one could say he’d be a keeper. Heck, imagining where the team would be without Lofton is a scary proposition. But even he is far from the best in the NFL at his position and probably isn’t in the top 5, either (Patrick Willis, Brian Urlacher, Jerod Mayo, Ray Lewis and Sean Lee).
Assuming Lofton is a stalwart of the future, who would the other two be? Malcolm Jenkins is nice, but he’s far from flawless.
Akiem Hicks shows promise for a rookie, but he’s far from elite and has only played a handful of snaps in critical situations.
The fact that we can’t even list just three guys that are solid within an 11-man defense is miserable – it shows why the team should begin preparing for the future right now.
The Saints’ defense could truly use a handful of new guys at every, single position – defensive line, linebacker and defensive back.
That’d be impossible to do in one free agency period.
But it wouldn’t be impossible to do through the draft if they got their hands on four or five picks in the top 90 selections.
For those who have refrained from throwing darts at my picture and stuck with me this far, I want to state that I am not advocating that the Saints lose the rest of their games on purpose – I would never say that.
I just think that they should play younger players over veterans and find out what the future holds.
Through doing that, the losses would come naturally and the team would get its solid draft pick – everyone would win in the long-term.
Let’s be real – veterans or no veterans, the team won’t win enough games to make the playoffs amidst a schedule that still pits the team against the Falcons (twice), Giants, 49ers and Cowboys.
Heck, even Oakland on the road is a challenge to a team that loses to Kansas City and Washington at home, right?
So if one will lose in sports, they might as well do it big and be among the worst in their respective league to get that coveted top pick.
It worked in baseball for the Washington Nationals, who rode Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper to the National League playoffs this past season.
It also worked for the San Antonio Spurs, who tanked a season in the 1990s when David Robinson got injured – a move that landed the team Tim Duncan.
We all know how that turned out.
Locally, the New Orleans Hornets are hoping that Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers will bring the same stability to the team.
Guess what? Davis is a Hornet largely because of a tank-job.
Sure, the team played hard until the end, but let’s be real here – the team’s roster was hardly a D-League squad by year’s end.
Also a product of tanking is Andrew Luck, who is an Indianapolis Colt because the team folded up its tents for almost all of 2011-12 after Peyton Manning was lost to a neck injury.
Luck has the Colts in the playoff chase in just one season – a feat that I didn’t think was possible.
With Drew Brees already in place, a similar scenario in New Orleans could make the team elite in just one season.
I understand pride and I understand competitive spirit, but more important than it all, I understand the future – where dynasties are made and broken in the NFL.
The Saints have a roster full of awful players – especially on defense.
They are not even close to being among the most talented teams in the NFL at any position except quarterback.
The easiest way to rebuild and get better in the NFL is through the draft.
So accept defeat in 2012, pick up a top-five pick and flip it for multiple picks.
That is the easiest way to get back to the Super Bowl.
Going 7-9 or 8-8 this season will just continue the problem into the foreseeable future.
The Colts called it ‘Suck for Luck’.
I think a new term can be coined for the Saints – ‘Get your butt kicked for picks.’
It’s the easiest, most sure-fire way to ensure that the team has a talented roster moving forward.
Lord knows that defense needs all of the help that it can get.