2016 NFL free agency: 10 players the New Orleans Saints should target

shootsmcgavin
Oct 12, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (12) makes a catch for a touchdown over Carolina Panthers cornerback Melvin White (23) during the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals and the Panthers tie in overtime 37-37. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 12, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (12) makes a catch for a touchdown over Carolina Panthers cornerback Melvin White (23) during the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals and the Panthers tie in overtime 37-37. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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Tahir Whitehead
Nov 22, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions middle linebacker Tahir Whitehead (59) breakups a pass intended for Oakland Raiders tight end Clive Walford (88) during the third quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /

Name: Tahir Whitehead
Position: OLB
Age next season: 26
2015 Team: Detroit Lions
2015 Cap hit: $713K

Whitehead has spent his entire career with the Lions since being drafted in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft out of Temple.  He’s in no way a flashy player, but he is productive and became pretty consistent in pass coverage this past season.

He played in all 16 games (started eight) in 2015, totaling 50 combined tackles, two sacks, six passes defended, an interception and a fumble recovery.  The best part about Whitehead is his dependability.  He has only missed two games in four seasons — quite the opposite of Dannell Ellerbe, who played in only six games in 2015.

Whitehead could be an excellent option on the weakside.  He’s quick, he’s rangy, he’ll chase down runners, he’ll re-route wide receivers, he has improved in coverage, and he has the flexibility to play multiple linebacker positions with experience on the weakside and strongside.

Most importantly, he can tackle.  The New Orleans Saints have had noticeable issues with their tackling mechanics the past two seasons.  Tahir Whitehead could be a nice, affordable buy in free agency.

Next: A kicker?

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