There’s a popular notion that the New Orleans Saints safety position comes down to three guys in Kenny Vaccaro, Malcolm Jenkins and Roman Harper as far as serious playing time and depth go.
Not many are giving crafty veteran Jim Leonhard a chance.
Leonhard was a quiet signing not many noticed well after the dust had settled on both free agency and the draft at a time when it was believed the Saints were done making moves because of a serious cap situation. He has a serious shot at not only making the roster but pushing to act as the third safety, replacing Harper. This is because of Leonhard’s connections and specific experience in the league.
The now 30-year-old played three years under Rex Ryan when he played with the New York Jets. If you follow NFL history at all you know the Ryan twins run an extension of their father’s defense, so Leonhard’s experience with Rex will translate to Rob’s scheme in New Orleans well.
Hence the reason Leonhard was brought to town.
At worst Leonhard is nothing more than a quality backup who can play a serious leadership role on a defense looking for those traits in someone after a miserable outing a year ago.
Then again, Leonhard could shock us all. He has an inside track when it comes to knowledge of the team thanks to his past experience. It’s doubtful he could win a starting gig, but seeing the field on a regular basis as an extra defensive back is a real possibility.