New Orleans Saints Linebacker Craig Robertson finds himself fighting for a starting spot in the linebacker rotation. The Saints added former Carolina Panther LB A.J. Klein and former San Diego Charger LB Manti Teo through free agency and LB Alex Anzalone in the 3rd round of the 2017 NFL Draft out of Florida.
After the 2016 season Robertson posted career numbers with 115 tackles in 16 starts for New Orleans. The former Browns LB who plays every LB position finds himself in an intense battle to claim at least one of those spots after leading the Saints in tackles.
New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton lost confidence in Robertson somewhere down the line and sought to upgrade the position. I did witness at times that Robertson was a liability in pass coverage but was overall solid in the middle.
Maybe the coach is feeling the severe pressure of making the playoffs and is throwing as much as he can at the defense in hopes of improving it.
By any account, with the additions of so many LBs in the fray, Craig does have the added benefit of his experience with the Dennis Allen’s system.
This is nothing new for Robertson who has always had to fight hard and learn multiple LB positions to improve his odds to stay relevant on an NFL roster.
The Saints signed A.J. Klein to a 4 year deal for $24 million according to Spotrac. This amount of money for Klein is starter money somewhere in the LB corps. Klein is also a Swiss army knife type player who plays all three of the llinebacker positions.
Manti Te’o, formerly of the Chargers, was signed to a far cheaper 2 year deal worth $5 million. The interesting thing about Te’o is the Saints new LB coach Mike Nolan coached him as a Charger and is familiar with his skill set.
The former 2015 1st round pick Stephone Anthony had the middle LB position in his rookie season and went on to set rookie tackle records.
Anthony’s sophomore season was far less successful as he fell out of favor in the rotation after the changing of the guard at defensive coordinator. Mike Nolan is intrigued by Anthony and sees potential in the young linebacker.
Former Florida Gator LB Alex Anzalone was selected in the 3rd round of the 2017 NFL Draft to add athleticism to the LB corps. Anzalone is a player who can play multiple positions as well and is making steps to contribute.
Robertson who was signed in 2016 for a 3 year deal worth $5 million most certainly will have to show what he can do once again. The impending release of LB Dannell Ellerbe cuts the competition down a little but never count out Mr. Robertson who is eager to show the team what he can do.