The Saints could be improved over last season, but it depends upon the development of rookies into first-line players—a very chancy proposition. Larry Estes, a 6'6", 262-pound defensive end, has shown tremendous natural ability as a pass rusher and could move into the spot vacated by the retirement of Doug Atkins. The Saints' No. 1 draft choice, Ken Burrough, a wide receiver from Texas Southern who combines good size (6'4", 212) with real sprint speed (9.4), should give the Saints a deep threat on the pass, which they have lacked. "You put the ball in the air and Ken will run under it," says Billy Kilmer, the Saints' quarterback. Kilmer is underrated; he is no picture-book playmaker, but his sometimes wobbly passes are on target and he leads the team with the fire, of a Bobby Layne.
If all Fears' problems are solved the Saints might move up to second, ahead of the 49ers and Falcons. But even Saints can't perform the miracle of beating out the Rams.