The defensive line got some help in free agency before the lockout with the addition of Shaun Rogers, who will be a big help to the front four of Alex Brown, Remi Ayodele, Sedrick Ellis, and Will Smith.
This is a talented lineup with one glaring weakness: speed. They are veteran leaders who all have excellent moves in the trenches but lack top-tier speed across the board.
Will Smith came to the Saints boasting a 4.5 forty time, but for the last few years he has not always lived up to his potential. It must be noted that Smith had a career season in 2009, recording 13 sacks on the way to the Saints Super Bowl victory. In 2008 he recorded only 3 sacks and in 2010 he raked in 5.5.
Williams also likes to help out his front four by frequently blitzing linebackers from all sides of the ball. The Saints linebacking corps is the group with the least amount of depth, but it also contains the most important player on the defensive side of the ball in Jonathan Vilma.
Vilma was recently featured at #37 on the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players for his athleticism and his overall football IQ. Accompanied on either side by JoLonn Dunbar and Jonathan Casillas/Scott Shanle, all play calls and directions run through Vilma and extend to the other groups.
Perhaps the often-named “quarterback of the defense” is the most important element in stopping opposing QBs.