Saints free agency targets: Gerald Hodges can cure what ails Saints linebackers (1 Viewer)

Dan in Lafayette

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The Saints have done everything they can to help floundering first round pick Stephone Anthony, including hiring a new linebackers coach in Mike Nolan. But they can’t afford to wait much longer, and signing Gerald Hodges to play now makes too much sense.

By John Sigler -- CSC

The New Orleans Saints’ vulnerability at linebacker is no secret. The team has bigger needs like finding a pass rusher and a couple of cornerbacks, but guys like Craig Robertson can’t be expected to play 900+ snaps out of position again in 2017. The team needs a bonafide middle linebacker, and new position coach Mike Nolan may be able to turn first round pick Stephone Anthony into that dude. But assuming Anthony will rebound in a big way - while recovering from a late-season knee injury - is a lot to ask.

Many fans want to see the Saints pursue New England Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower in free agency, which is understandable. He isn’t going to be franchise tagged by the Patriots and may see free agency if his reps balk at Bill Belichick’s price point. But Hightower’s asking price is probably too high for a position the Saints want to upgrade, but may not need to address with a large chunk of their resources.

So that’s where free agents-to-be like Gerald Hodges (San Francisco 49ers) and A.J. Klein (Carolina Panthers) come into view. The Saints need a true middle linebacker who can read and react to the offense while communicating between the front four and back seven defenders. Hightower, Hodges, and Klein have each done that, while an enticing free agent option like Zach Brown (Buffalo Bills) does the same things that Robertson and Dannell Ellerbe already do for the Saints, though at a high level.

Full Article -- CSC
 

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