I caught up with Matt Urben of Side Lion Report to discuss the Saints’ newest o-line addition, Larry Warford. Below is what he had to say. Many thanks to him for taking the time, and make sure you check him out on Twitter.
Andrew from Saints Nation: I know it’s hard to evaluate offensive linemen in general, but what’s the sentiment with Warford? Is the fan base sad to see him go?
Matt from Side Lion: If not for stealing away T.J. Lang from the Packers, fans would have been fairly upset to lose Warford. It’s rare around Detroit to draft an offensive linemen in the middle-rounds and then have that player pan out. Warford was beloved from the moment he was drafted. T.J. Lang is just a really nice replacement, which plays down what a big loss he was.
Coming into free agency, fans knew Larry Warford and Riley Reiff were going to get big pay-days, whether they stayed or left. The general consensus was that if they could only keep one, Warford would be preffered over Reiff. Nobody would have complained if the Lions had signed Warford for what New Orleans gave him. For an upper-level starting guard, I don’t think the Saints overpaid.
The legend of Larry Warford’s rookie year is one still told here in Detroit. Fans wanted Warford before the draft even took place. He wasn’t supposed to make it out of the second-round and Detroit had a huge need at the spot when they grabbed him in the third-round in 2013.. He came right in and was immediately the best offensive line on the team. Since then, he hasn’t quite been as dominant, plus more injury-prone.
Warford has gotten better as a pass-blocker so I do think it is a good fit, especially with New Orleans trying to run the ball more. He’s a naturally strong run-blocker, but isn’t the most athletic. The Lions seem to be shifting towards a more athletic offensive line, substituting Warford and Reiff for Lang and Ricky Wagner.
Warford is a quality player, and despite me thinking Detroit improved by replacing him with Lang, I believe it’s a great signing by New Orleans. He will fit right in, add toughness up front and help establish more of a running game to take pressure off of Drew Brees.