ESPN’s John Clayton chose two New Orleans Saints for his mid-season All-Pro team -- tight end Jimmy Graham and left guard Ben Grubbs. Graham is a no-brainer, but Grubbs is a much more surprising selection.
The entire Saints’ line has been inconsistent this year, and Grubbs has especially struggled at times as a run blocker. The former Pro Bowler with the Baltimore Ravens has not yet consistently lived up to his potential after signing a five-year, $36 million contract in 2012.
Grubbs, however, has been more efficient as a pass protector. He has allowed either 1.5 or two sacks this season, depending on the statistical service, and has been flagged for one holding penalty. That’s a good rate for a team that throws the ball as often -- and as well -- as the Saints do. New Orleans has always valued its guards as pass protectors more than most teams, because of the way quarterback Drew Brees likes to step up in the pocket. And that’s why Clayton singled out Grubbs.
Grubbs, 29, does have the talent level to belong on such a list. But the Saints need him and other linemen to show more consistency in the second half of the season.
Clayton, meanwhile, went with the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos as his mid-season Super Bowl favorites. He wrote that he would like the Saints’ chances better if they could secure home-field advantage.
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