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New Orleans Saints: 2014 NFL season key additions

SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 11: Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints throws the ball in the third quarter against the Seattle Seahawks during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at CenturyLink Field on January 11, 2014 in Seattle, Washington.
Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints as usual were led by quarterback Drew Brees and a high scoring offense. Brees completed over 68 percent of his passes while passing for over 5,000 yards for the third year in a row (NFL record). Head coach Sean Payton is back on the sidelines and with his offensive mind set forms a nice combo with Brees as his quarterback. Brees has learned over the years to take what the defense gives him and call a pass check down to a running back. It showed last season with two running backs catching at least 70 balls. Jimmy Graham has emerged as Brees favorite target especially in the red zone. Graham caught 16 touchdowns in 2013. The Saints will need to find someone to replace the production lost with all-purpose performer Darren Sproles leaving via free agency. More speed is needed to challenge opponents vertically in the passing game.

The defense improved late during the 2013 season. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan uses an attacking pressure defensive scheme. Cameron Jordan (12.5 sacks) and Junior Galette (12 sacks) had break out seasons and help provide the pressure. They added two pieces this off season in hopes that it will boost the secondary's performance in Champ Bailey and safety Jarius Byrd. The defensive front will need to continue to provide pressure and give the new additions in the secondary time to get acclimated to Rob Ryan's scheme. Look below at key additions that could help New Orleans reach another Super Bowl.

Brandin Cooks - wide receiver
Brandin Cooks - wide receiver Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Brandin Cooks - wide receiver

Brandin Cooks was selected by New Orleans in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He will add much needed speed to the offense. Darren Sproles and Lance Moore have moved on to other teams so look for Cooks to replace some of their production. Cooks adds an explosive element to the offense that has been missing since Devery Henderson was in town. Look for the Saints to have more explosive vertical plays in 2014 with Cooks aboard.

Champ Bailey - cornerback
Champ Bailey - cornerback Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Champ Bailey - cornerback

Champ Bailey is one of the best All-Time cornerbacks to ever play this game. Injuries the last couple years have really taken their toll on his play, but he is still a top notch professional. His skill set may have diminish some, but he can still help a team with his leadership and knowledge of the game. Bailey if anything should be a great mentor to the young guys and help them improve their games. His name describes him perfectly, Champ.

Stanley Jean-Baptiste - cornerback
Stanley Jean-Baptiste - cornerback Eric Francis/Getty Images

Stanley Jean-Baptiste - cornerback

Stanley Jean-Baptiste has good length and athleticism as a cornerback. He should attach himself to Champ Bailey all year and be a sponge to his knowledge of how to play the position at a high level consistently. He has good playing speed and solid ball skills. He may actually be better at safety down the road. He adds good depth to the position and should be given time to develop.

Jonathan Goodwin - offensive center
Jonathan Goodwin - offensive center Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Jonathan Goodwin - offensive center

Jonathan Goodwin returns to New Orleans to help stabilize the center position with the departure of Brian De La Puente. Goodwin last played for the Saints in 2010. After playing for the San Francisco 49ers and starting the last three seasons at center in the new black and blue division the NFC West. Goodwin should no doubt bring toughness to the offensive line. He should help improve the interior run blocking.