Breaking Down the Saints Defensive Talent (1 Viewer)

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Breaking down the New Orleans Saints defensive talent | NOLA.com

The New Orleans Saints likely will release one or more veteran defensive players before the start of the NFL's free-agent signing period March 12. And they must add at least two or three impact players in free agency and the draft.

But before that makeover begins, here is my assessment of the players on the current roster. Players are listed in order of their talent level heading into the 2013 season:

1. DE CAMERON JORDAN

Age: 23. Years left on contract: 2. 2013 salary-plus-bonuses: $1.1 million.

Jordan would be the Saints' top defensive player in any system, but he will be especially helpful in the 3-4 since he played it in college and has the versatility to stand out against the run and the pass. Jordan himself would probably prefer to be a 4-3 end after showing flashes as an edge rusher last year, but he knows this role is a great fit for him.

2. LB CURTIS LOFTON

Age: 26. Years left on contract: 4. 2013 salary-plus-bonuses: $6.1 million.

Lofton was the Saints' best free agent pickup last year, fitting nicely as a player and team leader. He has only played in 4-3 defenses in five NFL seasons, but the transition should be a smooth one for the physical inside linebacker.

3. CB JABARI GREER

Age: 31. Years left on contract: 3. 2013 salary-plus-bonuses: $4.1 million.

I'm still high on Greer, who was playing at a Pro Bowl level in 2009, 2010 and parts of 2011 before battling injuries and inconsistency last year. I think Greer is still a No. 1 corner in the NFL, and the Saints' return to a more aggressive, attacking defense and less zone coverage will help everyone in the secondary.

4. S MALCOLM JENKINS

Age: 25. Years left on contract: 1. 2013 salary-plus-bonuses: $2.75 million.

I'm even more of a Jenkins apologist than I am a Harper apologist. I still see a lot of talent and potential, and nobody on the Saints' defense made more big plays than Jenkins in 2012. The problem is, he probably missed more plays than anyone on the team, too. He obviously needs to harness his talent and play more sound football with more consistency.

5. S ROMAN HARPER

Age: 30. Years left on contract: 2. 2013 salary-plus-bonuses: $5.35 million.

The thing I've always like about Harper is that he is an attacking, disruptive player who hits hard and creates turnovers and sacks. That's the type of player the Saints need more of. However, Harper obviously struggles in pass coverage, he misses too many tackles, and he was much less effective last year when he blitzed less under coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. If the Saints keep Harper, I would expect new coordinator Rob Ryan to use him more to his strengths. And I do think he can still be an asset, even though the price tag is hard to justify.

If the Saints release Harper, his 2013 salary-cap number will drop from $7.1 million to $1.75 million (a pro-rated portion of his signing bonus), with another $1.75 million still on the books next year.

The article covers pretty much everyone.
 

tomdda

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If the Saints do release Harper, all the remaining years of his pro-rated signing bonus will be accelerated into this year's cap.
 
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insidejob

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If the Saints do release Harper, all the remaining years of his pro-rated signing bonus will be accelerated into this year's cap.

Not if he's a post-June 1 cut, which he could be designated even if he was cut today. It would stay spread over the next two.
 

jerzysko

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I am in favor of cutting Harper and Greer. We need to get younger and more athletic and Greer can still play when healthy but at his age health is a concern and we can roll him money into a free agent like Derek Cox or Greg Toler. I like Quadus or Bush to replace Harper...
 

SaintJ

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I love Mike Triplett, and am surprised to learn that he's started to take LSD.

After the first three, putting Jenkins and Harper as the next two smacks of post-2009 wishful thinking. At this point, they are what their record says they are.

The only other legitimate NFL starter on the D side is Bunkley, as the decline for both Smith and Vilma was palpable the last two years, and guys like Hicks, Wilson and Galette are nothing more than potential with various shelf-expiration dates (although to be fair Hicks still has a chance to essplode this year).

And Elbert Mack was light-years better than White last year.
 
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insidejob

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I love Mike Triplett, and am surprised to learn that he's started to take LSD.

After the first three, putting Jenkins and Harper as the next two smacks of post-2009 wishful thinking. At this point, they are what their record says they are.

The only other legitimate NFL starter on the D side is Bunkley, as the decline for both Smith and Vilma was palpable the last two years, and guys like Hicks, Wilson and Galette are nothing more than potential with various shelf-expiration dates (although to be fair Hicks still has a chance to essplode this year).

And Elbert Mack was light-years better than White last year.

Among this group, Mack might be the only one worth re-signing after he was solid as a nickel cornerback last year. Casillas is still a young player with potential, but he doesn't seem like a great fit for a 3-4 defense since he's small for an inside linebacker.

Mack wasn't put into the numbered list because he's a UFA.

I agree that the list's order is suspect and reeks of wishful thinking.
 

RaisingTheBar

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I am in favor of cutting Harper and Greer. We need to get younger and more athletic and Greer can still play when healthy but at his age health is a concern and we can roll him money into a free agent like Derek Cox or Greg Toler. I like Quadus or Bush to replace Harper...

This is where I stopped reading.
 

head trauma

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first off Greer is injury prone and in my opinion needs to be replaced. when was the last time he played a season without being hurt. Robinson is good not great but more reliable. the first round pick should be used for this position. perhaps a trade down to select rhodes.

second Jenkins is a horrible safety and even worse at corner. my thing about this dude is as big as he is he's afraid to lay somebody out. there is no receiver in the league afraid to go across the middle on the saints. he has the potential but if it was up to me I'll trade him. IAQ has better range than Jenkins and isn't afraid to lay the wood, knocking a receiver out results in penalties but at least you'll have the respect of other receivers not running across the middle or burning you with seam routes.

third harper is better than Jenkins minus the cover skills. I would keep Harper because of his ability to pressure the qb and stop the run. I would use him more in nickel and 46 packages something that's a strength and wouldn't expose him.

fourth and last but not least the front seven will more than improve with the switch to a 34. players will be in better positron to make plays. it doesn't matter who's up front weather it's hicks at end or defensive tackle, Jordan, bunkley or Will Smith. Martez Wilson will be the key and yesss junior is a flat out beast and it would be a shock to me if he's not on the field for at least 2 downs. o yeah Greg Romeus in my opinion will play a olb role in some packages a mad man on the field when healthy
 

bornnraisedwhodat

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I think Triplett is trying to give a lot of guys passes for last year due to the Spags scheme and the whole boutny fiasco. It has some merit, I do think this group is talented than "The worst defense in history" but as a whole lacking true blue or red chip talent. But from a talent perspective, this is the same unit that was "middle of the pack" in 2011 only with a few more better younger players (Hicks, Lofton, Bunkley). So quit honestly, just from a scheme change perspective and putting guys in their natural position to succeed, they SHOULD be able to get back to being a medicre unit rather than a terrible one.

Sad, when you miss the days of being mediocre :covri:
 

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