As much as they would like, the New Orleans Saints are not going to find a replacement for Jermon Bushrod with the 15th pick in the NFL draft on Thursday.
The Saints hoped to retain Bushrod but he became the latest talented lineman to depart New Orleans via free agency and now there is a void that general manager Mickey Loomis acknowledged has not been filled yet. The top three left tackles are expected to be off the board well before New Orleans goes on the clock. The Saints were involved in bidding for Bushrod but he eventually took a five-year, $35.965 million contract from the Chicago Bears that included $22.465 guaranteed.
In his pre-draft press conference on Tuesday, Loomis sidestepped a question on whether or not the team will have to consider additional help for the position one way or another.
“Look, we've got Charles Brown and Jason Smith competing there,” Loomis said, according to Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “I think we've got some other young players in our building. So we've got competition there. “But clearly we don't have a name on that magnet at starting left tackle yet. So we'd have to look at every option.”
Smith, a bust as a former second overall pick in St. Louis, has an opportunity to revive his career but it would be dangerous to count on him. If New Orleans doesn’t do anything else, Brown figures to capture the role.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune