New Orleans Saints: Ranking the five best linebackers in team history

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 22: Linebacker Demario Davis #56 of the New Orleans Saints, defensive lineman David Onyemata #93 and offensive lineman Erik McCoy #78 prepare to take the field before a game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on September 22, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. The Saints won 33-27. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 22: Linebacker Demario Davis #56 of the New Orleans Saints, defensive lineman David Onyemata #93 and offensive lineman Erik McCoy #78 prepare to take the field before a game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on September 22, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. The Saints won 33-27. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) /

Jonathan Vilma

With only five years in the black and gold, Vilma’s time with the Saints was relatively short. He doesn’t own any team records and isn’t high up on any lists either.

However, Vilma’s arrival via trade from New York seemed to be fate in motion.

Vilma’s attentiveness and high football IQ, paired with Greg Williams befuddling defensive scheme quickly reversed New Orleans’ defensive tradition, from laughing stock to merchants of chaos, all en route to the Super Year.

Forget Drew Brees, forget Sean Payton, forget Tracy Porter.

The Saints would have never won the Super Bowl had it not been for Vilma’s quarterback-like presence on defense. The scope of his contributions can be summed up by his famous audible on a crucial 3rd and 11 that resulted in a drive-ending pass deflection.

Vilma was the vocal, commanding presence the Saints hadn’t had on defense in a long time. While he may not have been the superstar that some of these other names were, few have embodied what it means to be a Saint quite like Vilma.

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