10 New Orleans Saints players to watch at training camp: No. 10, Brodrick Bunkley

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Let’s face it, Brodrick Bunkley has been average at best since joining the New Orleans Saints in 2012 as a free agent, and that’s when he’s actually on the field.  So to be more precise, between injuries and inconsistency, he’s been nothing more and nothing less than a disappointment.

I begin my “10 New Orleans Saints players to watch at training camp” series with Mr. Bunkley.  But why would we want to watch somebody who I classify as a disappointment?  Because if Brodrick Bunkley can’t step his game up and/or stay healthy, we’ll be watching the team say bye bye to the nose tackle before the new season kicks off.

A former first-round pick, Bunkley has been no more than another body on the field.  And while just about all of the defense struggled in 2014, it’s the Florida State product who highlighted the starters on the defensive front as a non-factor.

Granted, injuries continued to be a problem a season ago, but that only makes matters worse.  For somebody who hasn’t yet played a full season since joining the Black and Gold, and was sidelined for most of OTAs and minicamp, his time could be limited down on the bayou.

He totaled just 18 tackles, with zero sacks, zero hits on the the quarterback and only four hurries.  Of course, he wasn’t picked up to be a pass rusher, but numbers don’t lie, and the numbers he’s accumulated over the past three seasons are not starter quality.  His only real contribution to the club was taking a pay cut.

It’s hard to deny that anybody on the roster can do what Brodrick Bunkley has done, and at 31-years-old, it’s tough to see any sort of improvement on the horizon.  If the team can’t get any increase in production, the nose tackle could be kissing New Orleans goodbye sooner rather than later.

There are several other players looking to take advantage of Bunkley’s crippled play.  I think a young John Jenkins, second-year man Lawrence Virgil, a promising draft pick in Fresno State standout Tyeler Davison, a handful of undrafted free agents, and of course, a recent free agent pickup in six-time Pro Bowl DT Kevin Williams are willing to back up my beliefs. Even Akiem Hicks could steal the show in certain alignments.

So while we’re watching Brodrick Bunkley at training camp, players, coaches and fans can go ahead and hope they see some sort of burst in the next few weeks from him in hopes of revamping his career, but all arrows point to “not likely.”  Keep an eye on the veteran, because his days are numbered.  It may be time for Sean Payton and company to move on.

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