PFF says Saints LB Demario Davis is leading one of the NFL’s best linebacker groups

With Demario Davis, Pete Werner, and Willie Gay, experts believe the New Orleans Saints have one of the league’s best linebacker groups.
Carolina Panthers v New Orleans Saints
Carolina Panthers v New Orleans Saints / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

The New Orleans Saints have only had a few practices together this offseason, but they haven’t been shy about declaring their expectations for the upcoming season. Just recently, head coach Dennis Allen, and multiple defenders, argued that the Saints could have the best linebacker group in the NFL. While a bold claim, they aren’t entirely alone in that belief.

Pro Football Focus (PFF) recently ranked their top 32 linebackers in the NFL. Not only did the Saints have one of the highest ranked linebackers on the entire list, they were one of 11 teams that had multiple linebackers ranked. Demario Davis was ranked at No. 3 on the list, and new addition Willie Gay was ranked at No. 31. Once Pete Werner, who wasn’t ranked, is included, it’s clear New Orleans has a top linebacker room.

Demario Davis and Willie Gay ranked as top linebackers by PFF

PFF considers Davis the third-best off-ball linebacker in the NFL, behind only Fred Warner and Roquan Smith— the upper echelon of linebackers. Gordon McGuinness, who did the rankings, made it clear that this isn’t a new development for Davis, explaining that he has excelled against the run and the pass since coming to New Orleans.

"Davis has quietly been one of the best linebackers in the NFL since arriving in New Orleans in 2018, and he finished 2023 with an 89.6 PFF grade that ranked third at the position. He was one of four linebackers to earn an 80.0-plus PFF grade in both run defense and coverage."

Gordon McGuinness (PFF)

Willie Gay, on the other end of the list at No. 31, hasn’t played a down for the Saints yet, but he’s bringing a great reputation. In OTAs with New Orleans, he has already impressed with his speed, athleticism, and energy. Playing alongside a veteran talent and leader like Demario Davis should only take his talent to another level.

With Davis, Gay, and Pete Werner holding down the middle of the defense, the Saints should be much better against the run than they were last season. With the quality secondary that New Orleans also has, the Saints have the chance to be an elite defense in 2024.