2012 NFL free agency preview: defensive end

By Editorial Staff
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2. Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell 

Calais’ expressed interest in staying in Arizona, so he will likely be with them again next year, but he is as solid a defensive end that there is in the NFL notching 72 tackles and eight sacks last season.

He also plays on the left side in the Cardinals 3-4 defense, but the Saints could deploy him at either the right or left defensive end positions in Spagnuolo’s 4-3 defense.

3. Houston Texans defensive end/outside linebacker Mario Williams

There is speculation as to whether the Texans will allow him to walk or not, considering the emergence of Connor Barwin, who totaled 11.5 sacks filling in for him after he was placed on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle.

Opposite Barwin at outside linebacker in Houston’s 3-4 is rookie stand out Brooks Reed. He totaled six sacks, and the Texans are very high on him entering into the upcoming season.

Although Williams played outside linebacker this season, playing in five games and totaling five sacks before his injury, he played in a 4-3 for the last five seasons totaling 48 sacks — an average of 9.6 a season.

It would be ironic if Williams ends up with the Saints after all. In 2006 New Orleans would have taken him with the second overall pick, as it was thought the Texans would take Reggie Bush number one, but instead the picks were transposed when Houston chose Williams.