Left tackle is one of the few things the New Orleans Saints have gotten right over the years.

Even before Drew Brees and Sean Payton arrived, the Saints have manned the offense's second most important position with a standout blocker. It's largely been a position of strength for two decades.

Dating to 1994, the Saints have started a Pro Bowl-caliber player at left tackle every season. The lone exceptions were 2003, 2004 and 2005 when veteran Wayne Gandy was signed to bridge the gap between Kyle Turley and Jammal Brown. Before them, Hall of Famer Willie Roaf had the job. For the last three years, it's been in the capable, powerful hands of Jermon Bushrod. That foursome combined to make 15 Pro Bowls and nine All-Pro teams.

The run ended when Bushrod signed with the Chicago Bears in March free agency. His departure left the Saints with a yawning hole on their left flank, a situation that Saints coach Sean Payton admitted in March made him lose sleep.

Rule No. 1 in Payton's offense is protect Brees. It all starts there. The security Bushrod and Brown provided to Brees has been one of the least appreciated factors behind the offense's unprecedented prolificacy.

Everyone just assumes the touchdowns and yards will continue to rain this season. But they won't if left tackle becomes a turnstile to the No. 9 train.

That's why Terron Armstead is the most intriguing player in the Saints' five-man draft class.