Pat Swilling wasn’t the most talented linebacker in the world.
His success was that of timing; had Swilling landed in a different city, with a different coaching staff, surrounded by different teammates, who knows if he would have become the terror off the edge that he became in the Big Easy.
That’s not to say Swilling wasn’t talented.
His blazing speed and his ability to evade blockers made him a source of paranoia in the minds of opposing quarterbacks.
Swilling arrived the same year as Johnson, and after playing in all sixteen games as a rookie, the Georgia Tech product became a full-time starter in 1987, finishing the year with 10.5 sacks.
His best year as a Saint came in 1991. Swilling notched a monster 17 sacks on his way to being named the NFL Defensive Player of The Year, all the while the Saints cruised to an NFC West title.
Swilling was inducted in the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame in 2000, and his 76.5 sacks sit at fourth on the team’s all-time list.