By John Sigler
ESPN has released its preseason NFL power rankings, assembled by over 80 panelists considering what all 32 franchises have to offer. They’ve settled on the sensible 1-2 ranking of last year’s Super Bowl contenders – the victorious Philadelphia Eagles and reeling New England Patriots – followed by a surprise to probably everyone but fans of the black and gold: the New Orleans Saints at 3.
You read that right: ESPN’s team are calling the Saints the 3rd-best team in pro football, and the 2nd-best in the conference behind the reigning Super Bowl champs. New Orleans is sitting above the Minnesota Vikings (4), Los Angeles Rams (6), Green Bay Packers (8), and Atlanta Falcons (9) in a crowded NFC. That’s impressive.
The NFL Nation writers over at ESPN have also been hard at work identifying a sleeper for each team. When it comes to the Saints, Mike Triplett is busy loading coal into the Tre’Quan Smith hype train:
WR Tre’Quan Smith. The rookie third-round draft pick from Central Florida has made some of the flashiest plays throughout training camp and the preseason opener, showing a good combination of size and speed at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds. Coaches have still been harping on him for issues such as communication, alignment, etc. But his big-play ability should get him on the field as a third or fourth receiver. — Mike...