In order for the Saints to win the NFC South, the pass rush has to step up.
The Saints got dinged along their defensive front this season, losing Trey Hendrickson and Sheldon Rankins in free agency. Those two players accounted for 15 total sacks for the Saints last year and that production won’t be easy to make up for.
Pass rush is the most important thing on the defensive side of the ball because if you can’t get to the quarterback and make him uncomfortable, he’s going to make it a long day for the rest of the defense. The Saints have had a good pass rush in recent years, but losing Hendrickson is a big blow, given his 13.5 sacks a season ago.
Returning to the Big Easy this year is Cameron Jordan, who is the leader on defense. Jordan had 7.5 sacks last year and is always a threat to hit the signal-caller. Marcus Davenport is entering a critical contract season and now is the time for him to prove he’s not a bust. The Saints should also expect big things from Carl Granderson, who is coming off a five-sack season.
The Saints drafted Payton Turner with their first-round pick with the hopes that he could be a nice rotational player and help rush the quarterback. Turner had five sacks during his senior season at Houston and while maybe the Saints did reach in drafting him in the first round, they obviously liked what he could provide them in the pass-rushing department.