2. Nathan Shepherd, DT
The Saints lost both their starting defensive tackles this offseason with David Onyemata joining the Atlanta Falcons on a three-year deal worth $35 million and Shy Tuttle heading to the Carolina Panthers on a three-year, $19.5 million deal.
New Orleans did well in replacing them with Khalen Saunders and Nathan Shepherd who together will cost them less over the next three seasons than Atlanta will pay Onyemata. The only issue is, neither has been a full-time starter yet.
Saunders comes over from the Kansas City Chiefs where he was a great rotational nose tackle. At this point, he feels like a lock to start as the run-stuffing 1-tech for the Saints. That means Saunders, who played defensive end in the New York Jets 3-4 line, will play the 3-tech.
He does have the ability to pressure the quarterback but it won't be easy for him to maintain the job due to the presence of Bryan Bresee.
The Saints' first-round pick from Clemson is an athletic freak. He's fast, explosive, and still has enough power that he can hold up in the run game. If he can prove himself, and Shepherd doesn't do enough, the Saints might try and see what Bresee has in the tank from Week 1.
Either way, each player will have a major role but Shepherd has to be on top of his game to hold off this rookie.