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Insider

Why Saints are Super Bowl favorites

6/13/2011

Adam Schefter answers readers' questions every Monday and Friday in his blog. Got a query of your own? Submit it here.


Q: Hi Adam, much has been made about my the New Orleans Saints' latest draft class as, on paper, they seem to have brought in high value talent at multiple positions of need. What is a realistic set of expectations for rookies like Mark Ingram, Cameron Jordan and Martez Wilson next season? If those three guys make up even a moderate improvement to their position groups, I feel like my Saints are easily a Super Bowl contender?

-- Will (La.)

A: Agreed, Will. The Saints' draft class appears to be stellar, and it should have been. They gave up their first-round pick in 2012 to make sure they are going to be as good as they can in 2011, assuming there's football. New Orleans got everything it could have hoped for in the draft and came out looking very strong. But keep in mind, so did the Falcons and the Buccaneers. There wasn't a division that looked like it did any better on draft weekend than the NFC South. And whether or not Saints rookies such as Ingram, Jordan and Wilson contribute, this team should be a Super Bowl contender. But if those rookies are all as good as the Saints hope -- and that's asking a lot out of three young players after a lockout -- there's no reason New Orleans can't be a Super Bowl favorite.


Q: Many reports I am seeing have the Philadelphia Eagles going after DE Jason Babin whenever free agency happens this offseason. If they do sign him, what role do you see Brandon Graham having next season? Also is Babin or Graham their future at DE?

-- Benji (N.Y.)

A: First and foremost, Benji, whether Philadelphia pursues or signs Babin won't affect Graham's role. The Eagles have invested a lot in Graham, and they still expect him to turn into the type of standout they thought he would be. Before the draft, one NFL executive told me that Graham would be the next Dwight Freeney. It didn't happen that way his rookie season, and maybe it never will. But there was a lot of hope surrounding Graham, and Philadelphia is still hopeful about him. As for Babin, it would make sense for Philadelphia to pursue him, as well. Over time, coach Andy Reid has demonstrated that he never has enough linemen, defensive or offensive. And if he can find another one who can help generate a pass rush, all the better.


Q: Am I reading into this too much, or is it telling that Justin Forsett told Mike Sando he called Matt Hasselbeck to get the team together for the informal workouts the 40 or so Seahawks players are holding because "once I got Matt on board (for the non-formal practices), a lot of guys would want to come work out." Isn't this a pretty strong signal, at least from the locker room, that Hasselbeck is still desired in Seattle?

-- Brandon (Wash.)

A: The bigger issue, Brandon, isn't with Hasselbeck; it's with Charlie Whitehurst. How come he's not leading these workouts? Wasn't he supposed to be the Seahawks' quarterback of the future? I think the fact that this happened speaks volumes about Hasselbeck and Whitehurst. Of course, Hasselbeck is desired in Seattle, and the Seahawks should want him back. He represents their best chance to win this season. The question is whether he will be back. And a lot will depend on which teams come at him in free agency and what they're offering. Hasselbeck still might ultimately wind up returning to Seattle, where he is desired, but the Seahawks' problem is that he might be desired in a place such as Tennessee or San Francisco.


Q: If Donovan McNabb goes to the Minnesota Vikings, what do you think the ceiling for that team is? If Sidney Rice comes back, that offense could be downright scary and if they can add a safety in FA, watch out.

--Reggie (Ore.)

A: You've got a lot of variables there, Reggie. For starters, McNabb is no cinch to wind up in Minnesota. The Vikings could explore a trade for him, but it's far from a certainty that they would go in that direction. Minnesota still could decide to pursue another veteran quarterback, maybe a Kyle Orton. But they also invested a lot in Christian Ponder. Minnesota expects him to be its long-term answer. So it's going to take the right type of veteran quarterback to bring in -- one who is good enough to help this team now, yet understanding enough to know he might not have much of a future with the team.