4 reasons why the Saints defense will improve in 2017

traymond
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 11: Delvin Breaux #40 of the New Orleans Saints reacts after making an interception in the end zone during the second quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles during a game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 11, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 11: Delvin Breaux #40 of the New Orleans Saints reacts after making an interception in the end zone during the second quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles during a game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 11, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
4 of 5
Next

The New Orleans Saints might finally have an answer for LDE

When push comes to shove, defensive end is an important position and having the right athletes is crucial. If the New Orleans Saints plan on improving from last season, finding the compliment to RDE Cameron Jordan is a must. Below are some of the main edge rushers the Saints will most likely be considering.

Alex Okafor

GLENDALE, AZ – NOVEMBER 22: Outside linebacker Alex Okafor #57 of the Arizona Cardinals in action during the NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on November 22, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Bengals 34-31. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ – NOVEMBER 22: Outside linebacker Alex Okafor #57 of the Arizona Cardinals in action during the NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on November 22, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Bengals 34-31. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Arguably the main man leading this race, Alex Okafor, is an explosive, dominant edge rusher that could help the Saints succeed during this upcoming season. Alex Okafor was selected by the Arizona Cardinals in the 4th round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Battling injuries, Okafor was productive when he was available.

Despite not being perfectly healthy, when Alex Okafor was on the field, he was a beast. In his tenure with Arizona, Okafor produced 13.5 sacks and 64 total tackles. It’s been shown that when healthy, Okafor can be a premiere playmaker for the team he serves. Only 26 years old, Alex Okafor obviously still can play in the National Football League, it just depends now what the edge rusher does with his time. If he’s healthy in New Orleans, Alex Okafor could be a redefining moment for this Saints defense.

Trey Hendrickson

Nov 21, 2015; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Atlantic Owls defensive end Trey Hendrickson (9) prior to the game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 21, 2015; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Atlantic Owls defensive end Trey Hendrickson (9) prior to the game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

To be quite honest, it wouldn’t surprise me if DE Trey Hendrickson claimed the starting defensive end position. Hendrickson, a former Florida Atlantic edge rusher, was selected in the 3rd round of 2017 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints.

In 36 total games with Florida Atlantic, Hendrickson compiled 125 total tackles, 41 tackles for a loss, and 29.5 sacks. Trey Hendrickson is a talented edge rusher, and a personal favorite of mine, who I would love to see get the start.

His versatility, agility, and techniques are only some of the abilities Hendrickson possesses. These traits could spell his success with the Saints this coming season. Hendrickson is a dynamic, explosive, physical edge rusher who could easily succeed in Dennis Allen’s defense. Pair his physical gifts, with a lethal swim move, and you’ve got a physical presence on the Saints defensive line.

Al-Quadin Muhammad

Oct 17, 2015; Miami Hurricanes defensive lineman Al-Quadin Muhammad (8) lines up at the line of scrimmage against Virginia Tech Hokies during the first half at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 17, 2015; Miami Hurricanes defensive lineman Al-Quadin Muhammad (8) lines up at the line of scrimmage against Virginia Tech Hokies during the first half at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite the off the field issues while attending college, Al-Quadin Muhammad is a productive, talented edge rusher. I’d be lying If I said Muhammad doesn’t have the potential to be a reliable option for the New Orleans Saints. The New Orleans Saints selected DE Al-Quadin Muhammad with the team’s 6th selection in the 2017 NFL Draft.

In 17 games with Miami, Muhammad totaled, 60 total tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, and 7 sacks. The raw talent, athleticism, strength, and capability are all great traits Muhammad possesses. Those aspects mentioned, and much more could allow himself success with the Saints.

Obum Gwacham

TAMPA, FL – DECEMBER 13: Quarterback Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is sacked by defensive end Obum Gwacham #58 of the New Orleans Saints in the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium on December 13, 2015 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Cliff McBride/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL – DECEMBER 13: Quarterback Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is sacked by defensive end Obum Gwacham #58 of the New Orleans Saints in the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium on December 13, 2015 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Cliff McBride/Getty Images) /

Last but certainly not least, the Saints could decide to roll with DE Obum Gwacham. Gawcham, a former 6th round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, could be an option for the Saints.

An interesting tidbit of information about Gawcham, the defensive end actually played wide receiver for four years before being moved on defense. Despite not having much experience playing the defensive end position in college, Gwacham’s athletic resume suffices enough.

Gwacham has now 2 years worth of being in the National Football League, which could translate to something if given the opportunity. In his two seasons with the New Orleans Saints, Gawcham has 8 combined tackles and 2.5 sacks.

If anyone knows me, or my articles by now you’d know I love writing about this specific position, a lot. While we are on the topic, in case you missed them, here are some of my latest defensive end related articles.

Top 5 defensive ends in Saints historyLink can be found here

Biggest DE contributors for 2017 New Orleans SaintsLink can be found here

facebooktwitterreddit