Ranking the Saints’ biggest needs after first wave of free agency

Marquez Callaway #1 of the New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Marquez Callaway #1 of the New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
New Orleans Saints
David Onyemata #93 of the New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

3. Defensive Tackle

Just two years ago, the Saints boasted one of the league’s deepest defensive tackle units, but after parting ways with key players like Sheldon Rankins and Malcom Brown, the team’s interior defense has declined a bit.

Last year, a rotation of David Onyemata, Shy Tuttle, Malcolm Roach, and Albert Huggins kept the Saints’ run defense elite, and the team finished fourth overall against the run. That marks NOLA’s fourth straight year with a top-five run defense, but the Saints will need fresh bodies to keep disrupting offenses in 2022.

To address the position, New Orleans picked up Kentavius Street, a starting-caliber player with valuable experience playing inside. They could throw previously undrafted tackle Jalen Dalton in the mix, too, and hope he improves in a big way after suffering a season-ending injury in 2021.

The Saints will likely continue bolstering the position in the 2022 draft, but if they want a sizeable upgrade from Roach or Huggins, both of whom underperformed last season, they could continue sifting through a talented defensive tackle free agent market. Signing Street was a good start, but they have more work to do to maintain their pristine reputation of being one of the best run defenses in the league.