The New Orleans Saints finally were able to get in on the action during the 2012 NFL Draft. With no first round pick (Mark Ingram) and no second round pick (stripped by the NFL) they finally got their shot with the 89th pick of the third round — defensive tackle Akiem Hicks.
New Orleans was thin at the defensive tackle position after not showing much of any interest in bringing back Shaun Rogers and Aubrayo Franklin — who had little impact in 2011 — for an encore season with the team.
Rogers, also known as “Big Baby” throughout the league, never quite regained the Pro Bowl form he had achieved with the Detroit Lions during his earlier years in the league.
Slated as an early starter next to Sedrick Ellis, Rogers struggled early and was relinquished of the staring job after just four games. He finished the 2011 season with a handful tackles, and zero sacks.
Yesterday the New York Giants signed Rogers in an attempts to boost their rotation on the defensive line.
Franklin was a heralded free agent last year and it was expected that many teams would make at a run at the man who’s average tackle took place within one yard from the line of scrimmage in 2010 while playing in the 49ers 3-4 defense as a nose tackle.
But the market from Franklin never materialized as many thought and the Saints offered him a one-year deal to join up inside their 4-3 defense, at the time headed by former disgraced defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
Much like Rogers, Franklin was just not able to regain the form he had during his time with San Francisco. He managed to be a better starter than Rogers, but the Saints needed a disruptive force up front that could collapse the pocket, not soak up blockers.
It was rumored that the Kansas City Chiefs were interested in signing Franklin back to his original and more suitable nose tackle position in their 3-4. However nothing ever materialized.
The Atlanta Falcons brought him in for a visit this week. They too did not offer him a contract that anyone can report, so for now he remains a free agent.
Five defensive tackles are currently on the Saints roster before factoring in their newest draft pick in Akiem Hicks.