2016 New Orleans Saints QB Preview
Author – Bryan Trulen
New Orleans Saints Preview
#9 Drew Brees 6’0” 211 16th Year Purdue
The ten time pro bowler turned in another excellent season in 2015 showing the ability to consistently find the open man at the right time which has personified his game for years. Drew is arguably the most accurate passer of all time and we don’t see that changing anytime soon. Brees is adept at diagnosing both pre and post snap and letting his natural throwing ability take over. His football IQ is off the charts and an undervalued component to his game is his excellent feet. Brees is a pure fundamentalist when it comes to getting his feet ready to throw on time and in rhythm which continually provides him with an edge in terms of being able to throw with anticipation to all areas of the field. Because of his lack of ideal height for the position, he must out of necessity make up for it in other areas of his game with eye manipulation and trust being the pillars of his strategy. As Brees has aged, his arm has still remained intact but while watching the 2015 tape we did come to notice a handful of deep ball throws that lost some steam at the end, something Brees will have to continually deal with as he gets into the latter part of his career. Clearly though, Brees and Head Coach Sean Payton see eye to eye and their relationship together has been a match made in heaven. If Brees can stay healthy in 2016 with an improved defense the Saints could make a playoff push.
#7 Luke McCown 6’4” 217 13th Year Louisiana Tech
The younger brother of Josh McCown has showed he clearly belongs in the NFL as a backup and when given the opportunity to start against Carolina in 2015 he performed very well. Opportunities to start have not always presented themselves to his likening however. A defining trait of McCown’s game is his innate ability to throw a consistently catchable, accurate pass which puts his targets in an ideal position to gain yards after the catch. Luke understands intuitively the varying velocity required to make different types of throws and ensures his feet match up with the depth of the specific route he is throwing. Luke also showed on film in 2015 the ability to throw his receivers open by placing the ball away from deep defenders while throwing down the field. Luke has displayed sneaky athleticism to go along with good improvisational skills when forced to abort the pocket as well. Intelligence is at the forefront of his game and is used to make up for his average arm, unwillingness to hang in the pocket and lack of game experience.
Being a veteran, McCown has used his experience in the league to his benefit and we consider him in the first tier of backup QB’s in the NFL. If forced into spot starter action or even extended action for a month or so the Saints offensive attack would still be in good hands with Luke at the controls.
#18 Garrett Grayson 6’2” 220 2nd Year Colorado State
Grayson was a 3rd round selection two years ago and spent his rookie year adjusting to the speed of the game while being introduced to Sean Payton’s graduate level offense. As a developmental prospect he will be given a large opportunity during the pre season to show what he can do in year 2. For comparisons sake, former Saint developmental QB Chase Daniel we felt was a few notches above Grayson in terms of throwing ability and having better instincts for the position. Through tape study, it is apparent that Grayson does not possesses the required level of awareness for defenders which at times hampers his decision making process which results in a QB who becomes robotic the longer he stays in the pocket leading to an overall breakdown in his mechanics which obviously affects his accuracy and timing.
Grayson is able to push the ball down the field with velocity into tight windows when given a clean pocket and can be a streaky passer. He looks frenetic once he reaches the top of his drop at times; meaning there is a lack of smoothness which may be associated with a lack of confidence in what he is seeing or processing, in other words, growing pains during year 1 of his adjustment to Sean Payton’s system. There may also be questions about his overall field vision operating in the Payton system. He possesses a bit of a quirky throwing motion which breaks down the longer he is in the pocket. His anticipation skills need work as he is still raw from that standpoint. Grayson is still a guy who has some upside from a developmental backup standpoint but he would have to have a stellar preseason to put any thought into him competing for the backup job in 2016.