Saints Need to Take Care of Business in Their Own Backyard

4 of 5

Tight End

Oct 15, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson (82) makes a two-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter against the Atlanta Falcons of their game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Like with the cornerback position in 2014, the Saints were counting on the tight end position this year to work itself out after the departure of Jimmy Graham.

We were told fairy tales by Payton of how Josh Hill would be filling Graham’s role; and that Benjamin Watson would be the solid veteran to provide good depth.

I was playfully chided by several last year, including my editor, when I wrote numerous articles on not “drinking the Kool-aid” at this position even with Payton’s stamp of assurance.

Well after the trip to Bizarro World ended, Watson was actually the headliner of the tight end group with Hill putting in a cameo appearance after he was overshadowed by Michael Hoomanawanui — who the Saints acquired in a traded with the New England Patriots at the end of September.

All three are set to become free agents, so there is no confusing that the front office HAS to address this going into 2016.

They can ill afford to repeat last year by not drafting a tight end and then subsequently not aggressively pursuing one in free agency; which allowed players like Jermaine Gresham to slip through the cracks.

Nov 22, 2014; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks tight end Hunter Henry (84) runs after a catch in the first half against the Ole Miss Rebels at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

As far as the draft goes this year, Arkansas tight end Hunter Henry seems to be the top choice and is tabbed to go within the first two rounds.

But with defense being a glaring need, it would be a shocker to see Henry being selected by the Saints in that range.

The one stumbling block for New Orleans in taking care of housekeeping here hinges on what happens with Watson.

Some are speculating that he is contemplating retirement; and a post he sent out on Twitter following the Saints last home game, only fueled the fire with the “Last selfie in the dome” part.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think Watson simply meant “last one for the season” — but with his recent book he had published and his media aspirations well documented, it is a distinct possibility.

Watson is also 35 years of age which is “old” by NFL standards; but he looks to have more football ahead of him after having the best year of his career, with 74 receptions for 825 yards and six touchdowns.

If Watson does come back, the Saints will need to decide what to do with Hill and Hoomanawanui who are both strictly backups at very best.

Next: Log Jam