August 25, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley (77) and defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis (98) during the first half of a preseason game against the Houston Texans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Texans 34-27. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
Just like the edge rushers for the Saints, the defensive tackles have under performed. Last year the team tried to fix that by bringing in two behemoth run-stuffers in Shaun Rogers and Aubrayo Franklin. Both players turned out to be duds and were not re-signed.
After the first round of cuts, there are now five defensive tackles on the Saints roster. This is another position on the team that has been an Achilles heal for the team in recent years. To help out the squad, a couple of big men were acquired between free agency and the draft.
Make the jump to see my defensive tackle predictions. Afterwards, drop your comments down below.
Bunkley was one of the many big name free agents that the Saints went after this offseason to bolster the defense. The 6'2, 306 pound nose tackle might be smaller than Shaun Rogers, but he is definitely quicker and more athletic. He was a great run-stuffer for the Broncos last year accounting for 53 total tackles.
Sedrick Ellis, the Saints first round draft pick in 2008, has yet to blossom for the team. His best season came in 2010 when he had 6 sacks and 58 total tackles. Last season, he had a substantial decline in production, only getting credit for a half of a sack and 49 tackles. Hopefully he can turn it around under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
Akiem Hicks comes to the team this year from Regina University in Canada. The former LSU recruit returns to the bayou and expects big things of himself. So far, he has met expectations with an impressive preseason. Look for HIcks to be a good contributor for the team this year.
On the Bubble
Tom Johnson, Tyrunn Walker
Johnson seems to be a player that could be expendable. It definitely hurts his stock that he has missed a lot of the off season due to an ankle injury. Nevertheless, he could make the team unless, of course, he never heals properly.
Undrafted rookie Tyrunn Walker is the youngster that I have making the roster. After Remi Ayodele was surprisingly cut, extra depth is now a priority. This preseason, he has seven total tackles and leads the team in sacks with two. The only way that Walker won't make the team is if the Saints decide to bring in a veteran that is released from another roster. Otherwise, he has shown the necessary talent to play in the NFL.