DT Marcus Stroud eyes NFL return in 2012, to the New Orleans Saints?
By Keith Null
Three time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Marcus Stroud is hoping to return to the NFL in 2012. After ten years in the league he believes he can still contribute, at least rotationally, to an NFL team if given a chance.
Stroud was selected in the first round of the 2011 draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars where he spent seven years before being traded to the Buffalo Bills in 2008.
In Buffalo Stroud enjoyed similar success to what he had with Jacksonville, but he was released after the 2010 season.
Buffalo went on to draft Marcell Dareus, widely regarded as the best defensive tackle in the 2011 draft.
Stroud was briefly signed by the Patriots, however the lockout prevented him from receiving the rehab he needed for his surgically-repaired shoulder that ultimately contracted a staph infection and required further surgery.
The Patriots released him in July prior to the start of training camp.
In ten years in the NFL Stroud has amassed 397 tackles, 28.5 sacks. and 37 pass deflections.
He of course made three consecutive Pro Bowl appearances with the Jaguars from 2003 through 2005.
New Orleans could he looking for some help at the defensive tackle position, and even after signing run stuffer Brodrick Bunkley a week ago, depth could still be an issue heading into the season.
With exception to Sedrick Ellis and Tom Johnson, the talent level, moreover “starting” experience, drops of exponentially with tackles Swanson Miller and Mitch King.
Neither Aubrayo Franklin or Shaun Rogers is expected back with the team, and that of course means the Saints could used some bodies in training camp.
Stroud was quite the force during his peak, and at 6’6″ 310 pounds, and possesses a big frame that can help plug holes as the Saints attempt to improve on a leaky run defense that was consistently gashed in 2011.
But at 34, coming off of two surgeries, and not having played football in over a year, the deck is stacked against Stroud and his desires to return to the league.
However he is likely worth a flyer for some NFL team — why not add him to the training camp roster — and let him compete for a role in the defensive line rotation.
It’s a win-win, he gets to prove himself, and the cash-strapped Saints could find value in his signing should he stick with the team.
Stroud is said to be garnering attention from the Denver Broncos, not surprising when you consider that Jack Del Rio took over as their defensive coordinator a month ago.
Former Saints secondary coach Dennis Allen took over as defensive coordinator in Denver before the 2011 season.
He interviewed with the Oakland Raiders this year for their vacant head coach spot and was hired leaving the Broncos to turn towards Del Rio.
Del Rio coached Stroud in Jacksonville during his tenure as head coach, and of course Marcus enjoyed his best seasons as a pro under his tutelage.