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The one free agent you would love to see us get

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Originally Posted by Danno The LB's are set? We have the worst unit of LB's in the NFL. I'm sorry, but is an overstatement if I ever saw one. They might not be the best LB corps in the league, ...

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Old 01-20-2013, 10:59 AM   #31
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Re: The one free agent you would love to see us get

Originally Posted by Danno View Post
The LB's are set? We have the worst unit of LB's in the NFL.

I'm sorry, but is an overstatement if I ever saw one.

They might not be the best LB corps in the league, but they're far from being the worts in the league.
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:17 AM   #32
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Re: The one free agent you would love to see us get

Originally Posted by FinSaint View Post
I'm sorry, but is an overstatement if I ever saw one.

They might not be the best LB corps in the league, but they're far from being the worts in the league.
I should clarify, they graded out as worst in the league. according to PFF.

And if they aren't the worst in the league, they're very close.

We have...

MLB- Lofton - Good LB but with limited range in coverage.

SLB - Hawthorne, so far he hasn't played well at all, graded out horribly (102nd OLB in the entire league). Has looked OK at times but overall not a solid SLB. Could be because he played MLB in Seattle and now shifted outside.

WLB- Shanle? Herring? Casillas? Vilma? Not good. Maybe Vilma can restructure and learn OLB, but so far he looks terrible at WLB.

I don't think I overstated the issue at all.
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:34 PM   #33
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Re: The one free agent you would love to see us get

Originally Posted by saintfan View Post
Me. They should sign me. For what I don't know, but I'm available.
This would help the team the same as making Godhell the freaking GM.
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:05 PM   #34
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Re: The one free agent you would love to see us get

Originally Posted by Danno View Post
I should clarify, they graded out as worst in the league. according to PFF.

And if they aren't the worst in the league, they're very close.

We have...

MLB- Lofton - Good LB but with limited range in coverage.

SLB - Hawthorne, so far he hasn't played well at all, graded out horribly (102nd OLB in the entire league). Has looked OK at times but overall not a solid SLB. Could be because he played MLB in Seattle and now shifted outside.

WLB- Shanle? Herring? Casillas? Vilma? Not good. Maybe Vilma can restructure and learn OLB, but so far he looks terrible at WLB.

I don't think I overstated the issue at all.

I don't know about grades, but I was only going by my own perception of seeing the Saints' LB corps play and then also seeing other teams' LBs play - in very small samples I admit, but nevertheless.

I think Lofton is much better in coverage than he is given credit for - much like a certain #41 - and I do think that he is in the upper tier of the league when it comes to MLBs. What I saw out of him was solid tackling all through the year and not many missed assignments. Granted he might not have been a "defensive QB" similar to, for example, the Super Bowl winning Jonathan Vilma, but I think he will improve on that front in the coming season when both he and Spags become more familiar with each other and the limitations/strengths of the defensive scheme as opposed to opposing offensive alignment.

Hawthorne is more difficult to evaluate, but given his body of work in Seattle, I'm inclined to think that the Saints do have a really good LB in their hands with him. His major problem this season was that he picked up that nagging injury which kept him out of the starting line-up for six games. He is a real thumper of a LB and that is what Spags probably wanted to introduce to the line-up with his signing. He is a natural MLB - which is a good thing considering that if something should happen to Lofton, Hawthorne could step in to that position with a bit of ease. He has been one of the leading tacklers in the league for the past few years: from 2009 to 2011 he played in 47 games while recording 338 combined tackles, which is 7.2 tackles per game; in 2012 he played in 11 games while recording 38 combined tackles, which is 3.5 tackles per game. So that to me says that either his injury affected his game much more than we have discussed on these boards or that his game was affected by the fact that he was played out of position... or both. We have to remember that while he is a natural MLB, he did play some WLB (successfully) in Seattle, but no SLB as far as I'm aware of. So, to make a long story short, I do think that Hawthorne is definitely an above average LB, and in some areas he is probably near top tier, but he should probably be placed indefinitely in the WLB position and as the back up to Lofton as the MLB. Another year in the system and without any significant injuries, and I think he'll be a really good player for the Saints in 2013.

So, to me SLB is the problem position, but that can be "easily" changed via draft or the free agency. I think players like Casillas, Herring, and especially Chamberlain (if he can fully recover from his severe injury) can provide nice depth and special teams play, but they do definitely need to address the SLB position regardless of what happens with Vilma's future with the Saints.

So, maybe the grades do place them in the bottom end of the league when it comes to LBs around the league, but playing in the defense that allows the most yardage ever in the history of the league probably will affect every players' grades negatively no matter how well they actually performed in their own individual roles. I'm not saying that they played stellar or that they didn't miss some tackles and assignments along the way, but I do think that they weren't the reason why that defense allowed so many yards this past season. So, I'm still very upbeat about the LBs the Saints have at the moment (Shanle removed of course) and with the introduction of an OLB who'll fit the SLB position and especially what Spags requires out of that position - I honestly think that they can be a top 5 LB corps in the league.

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Old 01-20-2013, 02:48 PM   #35
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Re: The one free agent you would love to see us get

Seeing how this game is going getting another huge weapon would help us get away with things for one season. I want Wallace or Bowe.
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:54 PM   #36
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Re: The one free agent you would love to see us get

Here let me say it, we have the worst set of OLB's in the league. I agree Danno.
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:44 PM   #37
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Re: The one free agent you would love to see us get

IDK, I still think that Lofton and Hawthorne are an well above average pairing when it comes to 4-3 LBs and if you could pair them up with an energetic SLB who could eat some space and shed blocks... they could be formidable.

If the Saints could get someone like Chase Thomas from Stanford in the 3rd round it could make a world of difference coupled with an improved front 4 line-up. I know that SLB is not a key position to fill since they rarely are consistent 3 down guys because of the opposing offenses more often than not force a nickel CB on the field on 3rd downs, but someone like Thomas could really make a difference in that front 7.


Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford, 6-4, 248 lbs.


Thomas' impact for Stanford's defense is felt way past the box score with his constant disruption on the pocket and against the run.


In an overtime loss to Notre Dame in South Bend in October, he was extremely active with stunts and pressures, attacking from different angles and directions. Thomas showed strong hands and wrists to stack and shed quickly to keep blockers off balance.


He is tough to contain because of his energetic playing style and quick feet to avoid blockers, using arm-over technique to gain leverage and break through the line of scrimmage. Thomas plays disciplined with a high football IQ.


Although he isn't naturally explosive or a quick-twitch pass rusher, he plays fast and hard with controlled aggression and goes at full speed any time he's on the field.


--Dane Brugler

Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford, NFL Draft - CBSSports.com - NFLDraftScout.com

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Old 01-20-2013, 04:21 PM   #38
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Re: The one free agent you would love to see us get

anyone will do better when eliss is gone...having sed on the d-line guarantees that bunkley or hicks will get double teamed on every play.
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:22 PM   #39
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Re: The one free agent you would love to see us get

Originally Posted by lsutigerfan View Post
Here let me say it, we have the worst set of OLB's in the league. I agree Danno.
Chamberlain is a wild card though, I feel like he could step up and make a difference.
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:13 PM   #40
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Re: The one free agent you would love to see us get

Originally Posted by FinSaint View Post
IDK, I still think that Lofton and Hawthorne are an well above average pairing when it comes to 4-3 LBs and if you could pair them up with an energetic SLB who could eat some space and shed blocks... they could be formidable.
I'll give you Lofton, but not in this scheme. His coverage responsibilities are a bit too deep for him. He's not bad at all, just not great at it like Vilma was.

I'll concede the jury is still out on Hawthorne. Injuries, new system, new position, sucky front four.

I hope he improves, but it still feels like square peg round hole to me.
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