Former Denver Broncos defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley will meet with the New Orleans Saints tomorrow as the teams continues to look for ways to upgrade it’s defensive line before the start of the 2012 NFL season.
Last year the Saints brought in two defensive tackles — signing Aubrayo Franklin and Shaun “Big Baby” Rogers — but neither truly made the impact the team had hoped, and now both are unrestricted free agents.
Franklin could return to the Saints with a new deal, but Rogers has likely played his last down with the teams.
However it would not be unreasonable to think that the Saints wouldn’t consider bringing back Rogers for the right price, but just not the $4.5 million he played for last season.
Bunkley, a former first round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2006, was traded away to the Broncos after the Eagles acquired Cullen Jenkins last year.
He totaled 43 tackles with the Broncos last season and was one of the bright spots to a run defense that stiffened up dramatically towards the end of the year.
At 6’2 and 306 pounds Bunkley shatters the mold of the traditional “big belly” defensive tackle. He’s quick (4.94 forty-yard dash) and extremely strong (44 reps of 225 pounds).
Check out Bunkley’s photo from the Combine:
The Saints need find ways to generate more pressure with their front four under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s, as “Spags” prefers not to blitz anywhere near as much as Gregg Williams did the last three seasons.
Bunkley could be just the answer to boost the pass rush alongside Sedrick Ellis as he can get up the field quickly and be that penetrator Spagnuolo desperately needs.
His presence on the defensive line would elevate the play of everyone around him, including starting defensive ends Will Smith and Cameron Jordan.
Hopefully Bunkley doesn’t want a whale of a contract as the perceived best 4-3 defensive tackle on the market to sign with the Saints.
New Orleans was just slightly under the 2012 NFL salary cap after restructuring the deals of some higher priced veterans.
In six NFL season Bunkley has totaled 187 tackles, 6 sacks, and 7 pass deflections.