Below is an overview of the tight end and the offensive line position for the New Orleans Saints in 2010. Both groups were another strength of the Black and Gold offense in 2009 with the starting lineups returning at each position. The tight end position is flanked by Jeremy Shockey and David Thomas, while three offensive lineman were selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time in franchise history.
TIGHT ENDS (5) - Returners: Tory Humphrey, Tyler Lorenzen, Jeremy Shockey, David Thomas. Draft choices: Jimmy Graham (D-3). Departures from 2009: Darnell Dinkins. WORTH NOTING: The club's platoon of tight ends were solid and consistent as both receivers and blockers. Shockey had 48 receptions for
569 yards with three TDs. He scored two more times in the playoffs, including the go-ahead touchdown grab from Drew Brees in Super Bowl XLIV. Thomas was integrated into the offense quickly following a week one trade and he responded with 35 grabs for 356 yards with one TD. It marked the first time two Saints tight ends had at least 35 catches since 1995, as they also played a key role in the blocking scheme for the NFL's sixth-ranked rushing offense. Lorenzen, converted from quarterback, spent the entire 2009 season on the practice squad. Humphrey, a late season signing, possesses the hands and size to contribute both catching and blocking. Graham, a converted basketball playerthe club's third round draft choice will seek to contribute
OFFENSIVE LINE (14) - Returners: T Jermon Bushrod, G Tim Duckworth, G Jahri Evans, G/T Na'Shan Goddard, C Jonathan Goodwin, G Carl Nicks, T Jermey Parnell, T Jon Stinchcomb, T Zach Strief. Offseason veteran additions: G Terrence Metcalf (FA). Draft choices/Rookie free agents: T Charles Brown (D-2), C Matt Tennant (D-5), G Brandon Carter (FA). Departures from 2009: T Jammal Brown, G Jamar Nesbit. WORTH NOTING: All five starters return (Brown, Evans, Goodwin, Nicks, Stinchcomb) to a front that successfully blocked for an offensive unit that set numerous club records and led the league in both yards per game and scoring with a club record 510 points, while only surrendering 20 sacks. Three of the five were selected to the Pro Bowl. Bushrod, a fourth-year veteran, was the starter on the left side of the line. He will be joined by Nicks, a 343-pound mauler who enjoyed a standout sophomore campaign. Goodwin showed an impressive combination of skills, steadiness and leadership as he earned the first Pro Bowl selection of his career. Evans, a 2006 fourth round draft pick has enjoyed four consecutive stellar seasons where he has emerged as one of the NFL's top blockers and was selected as a starter t the league's all-star game. Stinchcomb has been a model of consistency on the right side since becoming a starter in 2006 and was recognized with his first Pro Bowl selection in 2009. Strief has shown promise in a backup role, also serving as a blocking tight end. Leckey provides the flexibility to play either guard or center and possesses extensive starting experience. Tennant, a fifth round pick, will work his way into the center position.