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papz 07-19-2013 06:11 PM

New Orleans Saints Roster 2013: Linebacker Preview
 
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The Dome Patrol.

Three words that need no introduction. No verbal praise. No 2,000 word article. When a football fan thinks "Dome Patrol," they think of one of, if not the, best linebacker groups of all time. A 3-4 defense that was a perfect assembly of talented linebackers ready to make a difference, willing to dare opposing offenses to outscore a middle of the road Saints offense.

Today, the Saints offense is no doubt one of the best offenses in football. Rob Ryan's 3-4 is not depended upon to produce another Dome Patrol, but there is no denying that the Saints are hoping to get more out of the linebackers in 2013.

I will introduce you to a group of men that could have a huge impact or a lot of blame for the progression of the Saints' defense in 2013. There may be no competition more interesting than the linebacker position, as it could mean so much to the Saints' success in the NFC South.

LOCKS TO MAKE THE ROSTER:

Curtis Lofton

#50 / Linebacker / New Orleans Saints

Height: 6-0 Weight: 241 Born: Jun 02, 1986 College: Oklahoma
If you want to chalk one player down as a starting LB for the Saints, Curtis Lofton is your man. After a 94 tackle rookie season, Lofton recorded 115 or more total tackles in each of his 4 seasons after that. He is only 27, but has not proven to be a great pass rusher or pass defender. However, he may be the best run defender in the linebacker core. Expect another 100+ tackle season and hope for a few more sacks and/or better pass defense in 2013.

What to watch: Look for Lofton to be all over the field, but will he adapt to the 3-4 change smoothly or will he struggle to be in the right position to make plays? I have a feeling that his athletic ability and talent will adapt well to the change and he will have another HUGE season as an inside linebacker for the new Saints defense.


David Hawthorne

#57 / Linebacker / New Orleans Saints

Height: 6-0 Weight: 246 Born: May 14, 1985 College: Texas Christian
After a huge disappointing season in New Orleans, Hawthorne could be ready for a big season in 2013. Like Lofton following his rookie season, Hawthorne went on to record 100+ tackles each of his last 3 seasons as a Seahawk. In those 3 seasons, Hawthorne had 7 INTs, so he does have the ability to actually be more versatile than the reliable Lofton. The 2012 season was a disaster, but I don't think we saw the real Hawthorne under Spags.

What to watch: If David Hawthorne can play up to his expectations in 2013, Saints fans will see that we actually did add a very talented player. If he avoids injury, Hawthorne may rebound from what was by far his worst season in the NFL. While I expect Hawthorne to get significant playing time, he has a lot to prove to the Saints nation and better start proving it right away.


Junior Galette

#93 / Linebacker / New Orleans Saints

Height: 6-2 Weight: 258 Born: Mar 27, 1988 College: Stillman
For the past three seasons, Junior Galette has yet to find his home as a starter. Will he find his opportunity in 2013? In limited playing time, Galette has managed to collect 9 sacks in two seasons of part time play from the defensive line position. Based upon his size, Galette may make a smooth transition to the outside linebacker position and could be a huge pass rush sleeper in 2013. Nathan Jahnke of Pro Football Focus calls him a "Secret Superstar" and writes a nice article about Galette, which you can read by clicking here.

What to watch: I look forward to seeing if Galette has any ability in defending the pass. I feel good about his pass rush, but am anxious to see if he can adapt from his new position. His 40 time has been clocked around 4.8, so he will not be winning any track meets anytime soon. With the possible depth at outside linebacker, it is possible that the Saints will rotate the outside linebackers pretty often. This may be best for Galette to ease in to his new role.

Read more: New Orleans Saints Roster 2013: Linebacker Preview - Canal Street Chronicles

Rugby Saint II 07-19-2013 07:12 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints Roster 2013: Linebacker Preview
 
We have quite a lot of potential in the LB'ers. Someone needs to take Will Smiths spot early. These young guys sound like the kind of players who can compete for a roster spot......some of these old guys have got to go.

Luda34 07-19-2013 09:20 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints Roster 2013: Linebacker Preview
 
I think our LB's are going to surprising good this year. The 3-4 defense will make a differents with the outside LB's.

halloween 65 07-19-2013 09:24 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints Roster 2013: Linebacker Preview
 
I'm more worried about the inside than the outside, I would like a thumper with some weight on the inside!!

FinSaint 07-20-2013 04:38 AM

Re: New Orleans Saints Roster 2013: Linebacker Preview
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by halloween 65 (Post 511800)
I'm more worried about the inside than the outside, I would like a thumper with some weight on the inside!!


They do already have two thumpers who naturally play ILB with Lofton and Hawthorne and while they may not be the biggest guys around, they've certainly shown in the past that they are more than capable of laying down a good lick on the ball carrier. Pair either one with Wilson and you'll also have size and pass coverage capability on the inside.

Overall, I'm very excited too see how the LB roster battles will develop going into the preseason. Who knows, maybe Butler getting injured could have a silver lining if it allows the Saints to keep one more young UDFA LB around?!


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