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New Orleans Saints Roster 2013: Defensive Line Preview

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; The quarterback sack. To define what it is would be a simple task, but it hasn't been so easy for the New Orleans Saints to earn them for the past three seasons. While 17-20 players in the NFL have recorded ...

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Old 07-15-2013, 08:56 AM   #1
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The quarterback sack.

To define what it is would be a simple task, but it hasn't been so easy for the New Orleans Saints to earn them for the past three seasons. While 17-20 players in the NFL have recorded double digit sack totals every season from 2010-2012, not one Saint has accomplished this. As a matter of fact, the Saints ranked in the bottom half of the NFL in total sacks for three straight seasons. Applying pressure to the QB in the old 4-3 defense certainly helps in making things easier for the secondary, but the defensive front has failed to do that consistently for years.

Are you one of those few people that think that sacks are overrated? OK, that's fine. The Saints have also made it easy for opposing offenses to run, as they were ranked 4th in most yards allowed per attempt in 2011 and 13th in the same category in 2012. As the old saying goes, "the battle is won in the trenches", and the defensive line has not made it easy for the Saints to produce a winner on the field.

As soon as Sean Payton was reinstated, one of the first major changes that he made was to go with the 3-4 defense, resulting in the termination of defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. While the change happened very quickly, it is obvious to me that Coach Payton saw from his Laz-E-Boy recliner that it was time to shake things up on the defensive side of the ball. Below average defensive play is no longer acceptable. This coaching staff is ready to take the next step in ensuring that the defense experiences some sort of improvement in 2013.

The only problem is that the roster was built for more of a 4-3 style defense. After years of underachieving, former first round pick Sedrick Ellis was not resigned. Career 4-3 starter and defensive end Will Smith was asked to join the linebackers. Some of the remaining defensive linemen were asked to change roles and new faces were brought in to compete in this new system. The Saints have basically torn the defensive line down and are looking to rebuild it from the ground up.

As of now, ten players are hoping to make an impact as a Saints defensive lineman in 2013. I predict that six or seven players will make the roster. While I am not 100% sure as to where each player will play the majority of his snaps, I like what I see in the first steps of the rebuilding process. Let's meet the guys who hope to break through in camp and in preseason:

PRESEASON LOCKS ON THE DEFENSIVE LINE:


Cameron Jordan

#94 / Defensive- End / New Orleans Saints

Height: 6-4 Weight: 287 Born: Jul 10, 1989 College: California

The University of California product returns to the system that helped make him a first round pick in 2011. Coming off of a team high 8 sack season, the 24 year old Jordan is expected to shine once again in 2013. His spot as a starting defensive end is guaranteed. With his explosiveness and physical ability in the trenches, we could possibly see Jordan emerge as one of the best defensive ends in the NFL.

What to watch: Anything less than improvement from last season would be a disappointment. While his sack total may not increase all that much, look for Jordan to demand extra help from blockers of opposing offenses. This will open up opportunities for other players to get to the QB. The son of former Vikings TE Steve Jordan will be a disruptive force in this 3-4 system and could be a key player in making this transition a smooth one.

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Old 07-15-2013, 04:01 PM   #2
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Re: New Orleans Saints Roster 2013: Defensive Line Preview

Brodrick Bunkley is my number 1 concern at NT. If he fails to be a solid backup at the least we have issues.

Built to be backup DT
Isaako Aaitui


Built to be backup DE
Tom Johnson
Tyrunn Walker
Glenn Foster
Jay Richardson

So the player that will have to be the true versatile DL man is Hicks

Lets face facts here the DL is very very thin and loaded with questions marks.

By season end the depth chart might look like this

Will Smith, Kenyon Coleman,
Akiem Hicks, John Jenkins, Brodrick Bunkley
Cameron Jordan, Jay Richardson

Entering the 2014 draft the Saints will have the DL high on the needs list.

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Old 07-15-2013, 04:13 PM   #3
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Re: New Orleans Saints Roster 2013: Defensive Line Preview

Originally Posted by hagan714 View Post
Brodrick Bunkley is my number 1 concern at NT. If he fails to be a solid backup at the least we have issues.

Built to be backup DT
Isaako Aaitui


Built to be backup DE
Tom Johnson
Tyrunn Walker
Glenn Foster
Jay Richardson

So the player that will have to be the true versatile DL man is Hicks

Lets face facts here the DL is very very thin and loaded with questions marks.

By season end the depth chart might look like this

Will Smith, Kenyon Coleman,
Akiem Hicks, John Jenkins, Brodrick Bunkley
Cameron Jordan, Jay Richardson

Entering the 2014 draft the Saints will have the DL high on the needs list.
Bunkley was the #2 ranked player on our disaster of a defense last year, and was ranked the 29th best DT in the NFL.

The year before that he was ranked the #1 3-4 NT in the NFL.

Bunkley is the least of my worries on this defense.
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Old 07-15-2013, 05:16 PM   #4
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Re: New Orleans Saints Roster 2013: Defensive Line Preview

Bunkley is an elite 3-4 NT. WE moved him out of system.
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Old 07-16-2013, 08:16 AM   #5
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Re: New Orleans Saints Roster 2013: Defensive Line Preview

Mix and match is all we can do. Very few of them will look good if they don't gel. Ryan has his work cut out for him but I do feel we have guys on here that can do very well in a 3/4 D. I think Bunkley will be fine and I look forward to see J. Jenkins take the field and Iaasko Aaitui might become a beast. There is a lot of beef up front.
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Old 07-16-2013, 12:06 PM   #6
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Re: New Orleans Saints Roster 2013: Defensive Line Preview

Some folks think Bunkley is too small.........He's going back to the 3-4 which is his natural position. I'm rooting for him to get the double teams the D line needs. We could be real good on the D line.
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Old 07-16-2013, 01:56 PM   #7
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Re: New Orleans Saints Roster 2013: Defensive Line Preview

Originally Posted by Rugby Saint II View Post
Some folks think Bunkley is too small.........He's going back to the 3-4 which is his natural position. I'm rooting for him to get the double teams the D line needs. We could be real good on the D line.
At 6'-2" 306 lbs, I think he's a tad too small to play 60 snaps per game and last 16 games.

He is probably best used at about 30 snaps per game alternating with others.
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Old 07-16-2013, 02:09 PM   #8
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Re: New Orleans Saints Roster 2013: Defensive Line Preview

Originally Posted by Danno View Post
At 6'-2" 306 lbs, I think he's a tad too small to play 60 snaps per game and last 16 games.

He is probably best used at about 30 snaps per game alternating with others.
Bunkley and John Jenkins could make for quite a good rotation if Jenkins works out

I believe this is the most talented D line weve had in a while, definitely due to Cameron Jordan and Akiem Hicks
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Old 07-18-2013, 08:36 AM   #9
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Re: New Orleans Saints Roster 2013: Defensive Line Preview

Interesting stats..

Five Years of PFF Grades: Top 10 Interior Defenders
Khaled Elsayed | July 10, 2013

Share by EmailIt’s been five seasons since PFF opened its door and tackled the subject of performance-based evaluation in the NFL.

We’ve seen many breathtaking performances, whether it be over a year or in an individual game, but we’ve never really looked back on things in a longer sense. So consider that something we’re rectifying, adding up the grades each player has got and then normalizing their performance on every snap based on the position they played.

We’ve shown the Edge Rushers, the Wide Receivers, the Cornerbacks, and the Linebackers… Now we move onto the 3-4 defensive ends and defensive tackles.

(*Players had to have participated in at least three seasons to qualify, so there’ll be no J.J. Watt this year)

Overall Defensive Interior

1. Justin Smith, San Francisco 49ers (+158.3)

...

10. Broderick Bunkley, PHI, DEN & NO (+61.5)

Much like Pouha, Bunkley isn’t one to make life hard on the quarterback. Unlike Pouha he’s a different breed of destructive force in the run game.

Lined up over the center he isn’t preoccupied with playing two gaps. Instead, he’s a wrecking ball that wants to get into the backfield, redirecting plays or hammering running backs as he blows up offenses. That doesn’t always lead to big numbers (though Bunkley dominated our Run Stop Percentage signature stat in 2011), but it does lead to the opposition having a much harder time running the ball.


Top 10 Overall: Run Defense

1. Sione Pouha (+74.4)

2. Brodrick Bunkley (+67.2)

3. Vince Wilfork (+65.2)

4. Haloti Ngata (+60.4)

5. Kyle Williams (+59.0)

6. Justin Smith (+58.6)

7. Aubrayo Franklin (+57.5)

8. Mike Devito (+56.4)

9. Kevin Williams (+50.7)

10. Justin Bannan (+42.3)
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:10 AM   #10
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Re: New Orleans Saints Roster 2013: Defensive Line Preview

Yep, I'm more concerned with Bunkley's backups. I have hope that Jenkins and Aaitui can adequately fill in, but Jenkins has much to learn. Don't know much about Isaako.

I think we're doing okay with our ends.
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