Three weeks into the 2023 NFL season, the New Orleans Saints signed defensive end Carl Granderson to a four-year extension worth $52 million. It was a big moment for a player that went undrafted in 2019 out of Wyoming. Granderson wasn’t detered by his path, though, competing with players drafted in early rounds and fighting to become one of the Saints’ most productive players.
Kevin Patra, in a recent piece for NFL.com, named an unsung hero for every team. Unsung heroes were defined as “players whose contributions WEREN'T noted with Pro Bowl nods or All-Pro selections,” as well as “surprise difference-makers who don't get the attention they deserve.” For New Orleans, Patra highlighted Carl Granderson.
Carl Granderson named unsung hero for Saints
Patra referred to Granderson as the team’s “most reliable front-seven defender,” praising him for his ability to play behind the line of scrimmage. In 2023, Granderson led the team with 8.5 sacks. Starting all 17 games, Granderson also recorded 78 tackles, 14 for a loss, and one forced fumble. Patra also highlighted that Granderson had 64 quarterback pressures, 26 more than anyone else on the team, and 60 stops, second-most on the team behind Demario Davis.
This was by far the best season of Granderson’s career, continuing a trend of improving every season. Throughout his five seasons with the Saints, Granderson has played in 71 total games, recording 23 sacks, 181 tackles, 33 for a loss, and four forced fumbles. Just 27 years old, Granderson should just be getting started.
He may be an unsung hero for now, but he set a standard for himself this season. That means he’ll enter next year with high expectations and will be asked to take things to an even higher level. If he does that, he’ll get the recognition that he deserves.