Saints Positional Previews: Linebackers

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Aug 18, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) is sacked by Dallas Cowboys linebacker Victor Butler (57) at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints and Rob Ryan did not bring in Victor Butler to simply “see where he might fit in”. The expectation from staff is that he needs to win the role of weak outside linebacker convincingly from veteran Saints linebackers like Martez Wilson and Junior Galette. Weak side linebackers in Rob Ryan’s 3-4 blitz about 75% of the time. Butler had 25 tackles, three sacks and three forced fumbles as a linebacker who didn’t start in Dallas.

Martez Wilson has seen limited playing time with the Saints, but he is a smart and dangerous pass rusher. Displaying 4.49 40 speed, the power to shed blocks and locate the ball quickly, I honestly think that if he consistently shows his ability in training camp he could beat out Butler for the position despite Butler’s edge of understanding Ryan’s system. He has the size you want in a potential standout pass rusher at 6-foot-4 and 252 pounds, plus he is a young guy and should be eager to be molded by Rob Ryan.

Junior Galette will give NFL tackles alot of trouble this upcoming year simply because he has the agility and strength to disrupt offensive play calls. Through his career he has 51 tackles, 9.5 sacks, and one forced fumble. He’ll need to give 110% to win a starting spot. I see him more likely as a relief and situational pass rusher.

Expect to hear good things about veteran Ramon Humber at the outside position as well. He has not seen much playing time with the Saints in the past outside of special teams action, but when you have 4.47 speed Rob Ryan will certainly find a way to utilize you in the defense.

I can’t quite remember being this excited about a linebacking corps this good in a while. The Saints have excellent pieces in place to field a solid four linebackers on the field that can consistently generate pressure and stuff the run. Although in order to be a better squad than last year, everyone will need to play to their fullest.

 

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Topics: 2013 Training Camp, 3-4 Defense, Chase Thomas, Chris Chamberlain, Curtis Lofton, Jonathan Vilma, Kevin Reddick, Linebackers, New Orleans Saints, Rob Ryan, Victor Butler

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