The New Orleans Saints lost some big names on their defense this offseason and are hoping they get some production from some of the lesser-known names on the roster. Malcolm Roach is someone they’d like to see make a jump this year and Adam Rank of NFL.com predicts they’ll get a breakout season from Roach.
Rank offered this analysis on his selection of Roach to be the Saints’ breakout star:
"The interior defensive line was an underrated part of the Saints’ defense in recent years, but the salary cap has ravaged it. Sheldon Rankins and Malcom Brown are gone. New Orleans didn’t draft a DT and hasn’t added anyone of note at the position in free agency. All of this means Roach, an undrafted free-agent signee one year ago, is likely to be pressed into a substantial role. He played sparingly in 2020, but clearly left a big enough impression for the Saints’ coaching staff to trust him. Time for the former University of Texas team captain to answer the bell."
As Rank mentioned, the Saints clearly have faith in Roach, as they failed to really amp up the interior part of the defensive line. This could either go smoothly, as Roach transforms into the kind of player they believe he can be, or it’ll totally backfire on them and they’ll hit the interior d-line hard next offseason.
Malcolm Roach could have a breakout season for the New Orleans Saints.
The Saints are used to leaning heavily on their UDFAs and they’ve gotten quite a bit of production out of some of those guys. Carl Granderson is one of the main ones that comes to mind and the Saints are hoping to see Roach follow in Granderson’s shoes as a UDFA who ends up being one of the best players on the team.
Roach appeared in nine games last year and had 16 tackles with two quarterback hits. He had 40 tackles (nine for loss) and three sacks during his senior season at Texas in 2019.
The Saints need someone to step up on defense with the losses of Brown and Rankins. Roach might be relatively unknown to fans of the other 31 teams but hopefully, by the end of the 2021 season, he becomes a staple in the New Orleans’ defense.