Out of 50 players analyzed the two Saints who make the list are not included in the top 40. Ouch. This is definitely the weakest link of the front seven: someone needs to step up next season if the Saints want to have an elite defense.
Defensive tackles are judged on run defense (50 points), pass-rush skills (50), and all of the technique, athletic ability and football intelligence needed to play the position.
John Jenkins, #47 (72/100)
Run Defense: 37/50
John Jenkins has the physical traits of a dominant run-stopping nose tackle, but he plays with poor hand placement and loses battles of leverage. Jenkins’ massive frame makes him difficult for any blocker to move off the line of scrimmage. But he allows run blockers to do so by enabling them to get their hands up into his pads. He has great movement skills for his size and can make plays both along the line of scrimmage and upfield, but his potential for greatness comes with developing the technique to truly impose his size through power.
Pass rush: 35/50
Jenkins has an impressive burst for his size, but his current game as a pass-rusher is mostly limited to his bull rush. He lacks adequate pass-rushing moves and has not demonstrated he can work his way around blockers to apply pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
Jenkins is an interesting player who can outplay Bunkley for the starting job next season. If he works on his technique he can become a huge difference maker thanks to his huge size.
Brodrick Bunkley, #42 (73/100)
Run Defense: 42/50
Brodrick Bunkley is a solid run-stopper who slides off blocks well and is an effective tackler. In 3-4 defensive fronts, Bunkley looks overwhelmed at times as an undersized nose tackle. But despite getting pushed off the line, he shows an ability to recover and work his way back into plays. He is a sound tackler.
Pass rush: 31/50
While Bunkley’s pass-rushing production fell in part due to his transition to nose tackle and a reduction in playing time, his two total pressures this past season are evidence of his minimal pass-rushing ability. He does little with his hands and lacks an explosive burst.
Bunkley is the sixth-highest paid players on the Saints roster (per overthecap.com) with a cap-hitting salary of $6,112,500 million. Is he worth all that money? If Bunkley won’t play better next year not only the starting position would be on the line but also his job.