To talk optimism is one thing; providing evidence is another. The New Orleans Saints in 2017 had many more doubters than believers for sure. Of course, in the end, the result of an 11-5 season was a success. Nevertheless, the Saints could be 0-15 going into the last game and Drew Brees would find some silver lining. That being said, he never blinked even after another 0-2 start.
2017 New Orleans Saints Rookies Proved Doubters Wrong
Drew Brees will always have faith in the Black and Gold. Furthermore, Brees has always stepped up to the microphone after every game win or lose. Granted, that’s his job, but his post game discussion is not just words. He would not waver when the chips were down on head coach Sean Payton.
After an 0-2 start, fans and the media were starting to bail on the 2017 season. The fact is, the Saints were atrocious in their first two games. However, the locker room stayed the course.
Jeff Ruiz from USA Today had this to say: “New Orleans is sitting at 0-2 with a trip to 2-0 Carolina coming next week followed by three straight games against 2016 playoff teams. An 0-6 start is not unrealistic.”
The title of that article was “It’s time for the Saints to move on from Sean Payton and Drew Brees.” Surprisingly, the Saints would win the next four and finish out the next 14 games at 11-3. Not many would’ve predicted that along with an NFC South title. But that’s exactly what happened. And it started with the 2017 NFL Draft.
Diamonds in the 2017 NFL Draft
Not even the New Orleans Saints could’ve hoped to see Marshon Lattimore‘s name on the board when they picked at the number 11 spot. Lattimore was predicted to go likely in the top five, but there were concerns about his hamstring. (Boy did those teams pay, and in my opinion, that pick will go down as one of the best picks ever for the Saints secondary.)
Everyone in the city wanted a pass rusher first for the most part. The Saints did the right thing and picked the no brainer. Lattimore was “money” all season. Then, the second pick was offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk. When the offensive line got hit by a chain of injuries, Ramzczyk was called upon into a starting role. He’s been more than stellar this year with Pro Football Focus rating Ramczyk a hefty 83.6 out of the first round picks.
A look at how every first round draft pick graded as a rookie pic.twitter.com/U4gZ6c9TiC
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) January 9, 2018
In the second round, the New Orleans Saints went with another pick for the secondary with unknown safety Marcus Williams from Utah. Williams has come up huge too. Especially, against the Carolina Panthers last week with eight tackles, six of them solo.
And last but not least, the Saints landed one of the best offensive weapons from the NFL Draft in 2017. Running back Alvin Kamara has surely captured the fans’ hearts this year with out of control Madden-like moves in 2017. His spell-bounding affect on the Saints play calling has Sean Payton dancing like Bruno Mars. And there was someone that had Kamara going to the Saints way before the draft. Hmm…
— Alex Jenkins (@AlexJenkins15) January 8, 2018
Success Regardless of Playoff Outcome
In any case, the Saints have already won in 2017. The 11-5 record came out of nowhere by many accounts. Still, the road is not finished just yet. The Saints travel to U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis to face the Minnesota Vikings. Presumably, if the Saints win, that would be considered a mild upset. However, don’t be shocked if that happens on Sunday. This young team has the ability and talent to go head to head.