Top free agent targets for New Orleans Saints: No. 1, Danny Trevathan

Feb 7, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Denver Broncos inside linebacker Danny Trevathan (59) dabs after recovering a fumble against the Carolina Panthers during the second quarter in Super Bowl 50 at Levi
Feb 7, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Denver Broncos inside linebacker Danny Trevathan (59) dabs after recovering a fumble against the Carolina Panthers during the second quarter in Super Bowl 50 at Levi /

The New Orleans Saints must address the weakside linebacker position this offseason, and Danny Trevathan could be the answer in free agency.

No single player available in this year’s free agent class could help the New Orleans Saints more than (hopefully) former Denver Broncos linebacker Danny Trevathan. One of the critical flaws in last year’s team was the absolute abyss that was the weakside linebacker position.

Outside of a couple of games where Dannell Ellerbe was both fully healthy and available, the Saints were forced to play a combination of washouts, has-beens, and never-will-be players to fill this position. To be clear, I am NOT taking shots at any of the guys who suited up in black and gold last season, however, the fact is that the Saints had black hole in the talent department at what is becoming one of the most important positions in today’s NFL.

As teams begin to use running backs and tight ends more and more, the need for an athletic weakside linebacker who is capable of covering the flats and ‘flying around’ continues to grow. Taking a look at the elite defenses around the league, you will notice that they all have an above average player manning that position.

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The importance of having that kind of player in today’s NFL is more pronounced than it once was, but the lack of having such a player on a defense, or worse anyone of even starter quality, is devastating. That is what makes Danny Trevathan such a perfect signing for the New Orleans Saints.

He is adept in both 4-3 and 3-4 schemes and has proven himself to be a dynamic player capable of flying all over the field and making plays ‘sideline to sideline’. Trevathan is an adept tackler who amassed over 100 tackles this last season as a member of the world champion Denver Broncos’ dominating defense, and he was also a key component in making Cam Newton look a lot more like the player Saints fans are used to seeing. Trevathan’s speed to the ball and tenacity are huge assets and ones the Saints desperately need, but his durability and youth might be even more important.

On a team that is trying to get both younger AND better at the same time, Trevathan is an ideal fit as he is only 25-years-old and likely has his best football ahead of him. Perhaps the biggest reason he should be the highest priority for the New Orleans Saints, though, has nothing to do with Danny Trevathan and everything to do with the New Orleans Saints.

Contrary to popular opinion, the Saints’ defense is NOT devoid of talent, however, it has gaping holes in a few key areas that cause it to be rendered totally ineffective, regardless of how talented some of its components may be.

One of those missing pieces is a weakside linebacker who is able to cover the flats, cover tight ends and running backs, and help mitigate the threat of scrambling quarterbacks. Trevathan is able to fill each of those needs and does all of them at an elite level.

The presence of such a player in the Saints’ front seven allows defensive coordinator Dennis Allen to actually use some of the disguises and trickery that he is known for because he doesn’t have to compensate for a fatal weakness. One of the greatest strengths a defense can have is a ‘lack of flaws’ because it gives you options. The reverse is also true. When a defense has a major flaw, opponents will simply attack it until the defense breaks.

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If the New Orleans Saints want to give their defense a chance to improve significantly over last season, then the best thing they can do is to sign Danny Trevathan. They can then pursue other needs in free agency and the draft and secure in the knowledge that they have just plugged the single greatest hole in their defense. There simply isn’t a better move than that.