Saints Post-2021 NFL Draft State of the Roster: Linebackers
The New Orleans Saints‘ linebacker position is one to keep an eye on as we inch closer to the season. Zack Baun was taken in the third round of last year’s draft and underwhelmed as a rookie, forcing the Saints to address the position in the second round of this year’s draft with their pick of Pete Werner.
Here are all of the linebackers listed on New Orleans’ official roster:
- Zack Baun
- Demario Davis
- Andrew Dowell
- Kaden Elliss
- Chase Hansen
- Wynton McManis
- Quentin Poling
- Shaq Smith
- Sutton Smith
- Pete Werner
- Marcus Willoughby
The Saints could use some help at the linebacker position.
Outside of Davis, the Saints aren’t set up all that great at linebacker. Werner should be able to battle for a starting spot and Baun will also make the roster and get a second chance to prove himself.
As for the reserves:
- Dowell, Elliss, and Hansen have all previously spent time with the Saints and that gives them an edge.
- McManis hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2016, so he’ll have to really show something this summer if he wants to make the roster.
- Poling is a former seventh-round pick out of Ohio and there’s intrigue with him, as he had over 100 tackles in each of his final two seasons with the Bobcats.
- Shaq Smith opted out last season but split his college football tenure with Clemson and Maryland.
- Sutton Smith was a sacking machine at Northern Illinois, especially in 2017 and 2018 when he had 29 between those two seasons. The Steelers took him in the sixth round in 2019 but he didn’t do much there.
- Willoughby signed as a UDFA out of Utah last year but that’s about all we know about him.
Out of this bunch, I’d like to see more from Poling. As I mentioned above, he was a tackling machine at Ohio and the team clearly saw something in him when signing him to a deal for the summer. He could be another camp body but I hope to see him get a real shot with this team. While some guys have previously spent time with the Saints, that shouldn’t guarantee them a roster spot.
The Saints’ linebacker position battle was named as their most intriguing camp battle to watch this summer and for good reason. Outside of Davis, this unit is a real mystery heading into the 2021 season.