New Orleans Saints Interior Defensive Line (4):
- David Onyematta
- Malcolm Roach
- Shy Tuttle
- Lorenzo Neal Jr.
Despite the loss of nose tackle Malcolm Brown, the Saints’ collection of talent up front amounts to a strength among the team’s defensive unit. Leading the way is the criminally underrated David Onyemata, fresh off a career year in 2020 and seemingly on the cusp of inclusion among the game’s very best at his position.
The interior defender group is buoyed by a pair of talented UDFA-finds from the two previous seasons, in form of Shy Tuttle and Malcolm Roach, and it is from the ranks of the undrafted that yet another defensive lineman makes his way to the Saints roster in this projection.
Former Washington Husky Josiah Bronson found his way to the Saints by way of a deal that included a UDFA team-best 25,000 signing bonus plus $140,000 of guaranteed base salary. While Bronson was a hot commodity in this year’s post-draft process, fellow undrafted big man Lorenzo Neal’s Jr. path to New Orleans was quite different.
Yet, despite going undrafted and languishing on the UDFA market until granted an invitation as a try-out player to the Saints’ recent rookie camp, Neal’s path to the NFL is no underdog story.
With an NFL bloodline (his namesake father was a popular Saints running back in the mid-90s) and physical traits to burn, Neal was counted among the college game’s best defensive lineman before an injury to his ACL would claim his 2019 season.
Given the lack of a true nose tackle on the current roster and the playmaking ability that Neal displayed pre-injury, the massive 6’3″, 325-pounder slips onto the Saints’ opening roster over Bronson in this early projection.