Sounds ludicrous right? Maybe not. First let's talk for a minute on how most people see the lineup. Most people seem to think that Martez Wilson will be thrown into the lineup at SOLB and this seems plausible. Next at SILB everyone has Curtis Lofton penciled in as the starter there. That's the only No-brainer. Next to him at WILB has been a bit of a toss up between David Hawthorne and Jonathan Vilma. Most Saints fans seem to be in agreement though that we're definitely not too comfortable going into the season with Vilma as the starter there.
David Hawthorne is the better fit (246 vs. 234lbs) even though it would be his first time playing the position. Hawthorne is the better tackler and would stand up better against the run. Still, it would be a learning curve for Hawthorne at that position. The final position will be filled by Junior Gallette with the hopes of improving that spot in the draft. This seems to be the common accepted version of what the lineup will look like. But will it?
We've all seen the articles stating that the Saints have talked to Alec Ogletree of Georgia and Kiki Alonso of Oregon. But what are we really to make of it? Could they be considering these guys to play on the outside as pass-rushers or could they indeed be in the market for someone to play next to Lofton? Could it be both? Both are very plausible scenarios. Now let's discuss why they could be considering a Middle Linebacker over an Outside Linebacker.
First things first. Martez Wilson stands at 6'4" 250 lbs and could play a multitude of positions. He would be a great fit at SOLB or WOLB. Some of us probably remember him nearly injuring Cam Newton on a sack two years ago. He has the speed to rush the passer but he might be our best option to cover Tight Ends on the strong side. So, for the time being let's leave him there. Now we have two spots figured out for sure. Wilson at SOLB and Lofton at SILB.
Now the attention is pushed toward David Hawthorne. Is it worth teaching him a new position in order to upgrade Junior Gallette's spot? Maybe not. And here's why. David Hawthorne and Martez Wilson would be a great duo to sub in and out for certain packages on the Strong side keeping them fresh. This allows the coaching staff to draft a MLB that is stiff against the run. Pairing the new draft choice with Lofton ensures that the Middle will be very tough to run on. This also allows for a balanced rotation on the Weak side of Gallette and Greg Romeus.
This is not to say that they won't draft an OLB, as Jamie Collins has also grabbed the attention of the team, but they might just see much more depth there than your everyday fan. There is also Braylon Broughton on the roster at 6'6" 272 that could make a surprise appearance at WOLB. Considering guys like Ogletree, Alonso, Kevin Reddick, and Nico Johnson as possible draftees to help against the run, don't be surprised if these guys become more of a priority on draft day than a pass-rushing OLB.