Saints S Pierre Warren Could Find Bigger Role In 2015


Last year at about this time a pleasant surprise was about to be discovered amongst the crop of undrafted free agents for the New Orleans Saints.

A little known defensive back from Jacksonville State would turn heads of coaches, the media and fans as the summer months rolled along…Pierre Warren.

Warren began to be labeled in camp as a ball-hawk and a rookie who was playing like someone who had been in the league for at least several years.

The Saints secondary with the addition of free agents like safety Jarius Byrd and cornerback Champ Bailey looked to be set but Warren still impressed as the days rolled on into the preseason.

His chances started looking a little slim going towards the final roster cuts but surprisingly Bailey was released and the opinion of everyone was that Warren was a sure shot to make the final roster.

But Warren was eventually released due to the log-jam at the safety position and everyone expected him to be signed to the practice squad.

Well he was signed to a practice squad, but it ended up being for the Minnesota Vikings after the Saints elected not to sign him to theirs.

Aug 28, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (34) is tackled by New Orleans Saints defensive back Pierre Warren (42) in the first quarter at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Fast forward to Week 12 of the regular season and after a slew of injuries at safety, Warren was called back to man the position as the Saints attempted to salvage their up and down season.

Warren would start at free safety for five games and for the final game would fill in at strong safety recording 30 total tackles, one forced fumble, and two interceptions.

One can only assume what it would have looked like if Warren was able to have a bigger role last year.

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As the Saints begin their offseason programs, Warren is surely figuring into the plan of fixing a defense that finished almost dead last for 2014.

Granted with Byrd and Rafael Bush both coming back off of their season ending injuries(assumably healthy) with Kenny Vaccarro, Warren will not be a starter.

Who Dat Dish’s editor John Hendrix recently wrote where Warren is one who “might need to worry about a roster spot”.

However, I disagree for a few reasons…

While Warren is not a “proven veteran”, he caught on quickly to the defensive scheme last year and even after being thrust into the fire of a starting role he still performed as good as anyone on defense.

Sep 14, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Terrance West (28) rushes into the end zone for a touchdown while being defended by New Orleans Saints free safety Jairus Byrd (31) during the third quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Warren actually faired better than Byrd according to with Warren getting a rating of -1.5 and Byrd getting a -3.6.

Of course Byrd only played three games to Warren’s six but I scored Warren myself by taking away his first two games giving him a +0.8 and then his last two giving him a +1.5.

Either way you look at it, Warren finished ahead in both scenarios.

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With another year to digest defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s scheme, Warren can be even better than last year.

That plays into the next reason which is that head coach Sean Payton is looking for what he calls smart players on and off the field.

Warren fits that bill perfectly as he possesses the knowledge on defense as well as being a player who knows how to humble himself and be grateful for whatever task he is given on the team.

Another reason that combines all these factors is depth, which looking at the Saints history will have them keeping at least six safeties on their roster.

Aug 28, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints safety Vinnie Sunseri (43) tackles Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Michael Campanaro (6) during the second half of a preseason game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Ravens defeated the Saints 22-13. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

After last year with all the injuries, I don’t see them keeping just five which if that did happen would nudge Warren’s chances down considering fellow safety Vinnie Sunseri’s panache for special teams.

The Saints did bring in veteran Kenny Phillips to compete but looking at his injury history and him being out of football for the period he was, I really don’t know if he’s a threat.

Jamarca Sanford is returning from last year but again I would give the nod to Warren if it came down to it.

The Saints also need to look to the future considering that Bush scheduled to be a free agent following this season and it’s unclear if they’ll want to or even have the salary cap space to sign him to a pricey contract.

If he makes it to the final roster, Warren could very well make an impact at safety and on special teams for not only the 2015 season, but beyond as well……

Next: Can Brandon Coleman and Seantavius Jones Step Up For the Saints in 2015?