As it seems that the Saints free agency period is winding down, I thought I'd give some late names that would be possible valuable pick-ups suiting our remaining needs - ideally, any position not offense (save left tackle, the number 1 candidate being Bryant Mckinnie). More specifically though, I turn to defensive tackle (integral to the 3-4 scheme)and safety. I'm ommiting linebacker and defensive ends as we just picked up Victor Butler, I have hopes that Junior Galette, Martez Wilson, and David Hawthorne can step up into the position, and we could potentially draft a suitable linebacker in the draft (Mingo, Jordan, Mingo, Jones, or Werner).
I'll start with the defensive tackle position as it seems by our 15th pick in the draft, the three best defensive tackles by a reported substantial margin -- Star Lotulelei, Sharrif Floyd, and Sheldon Richardson will be gone. The next available would be Jonathon Hankins but he has been critized for his inconsistent play and could be a reach at pick 15 (despite being predicted to pick him by Mocking the Draft). So, who's left in free agency?
Seymour, formally of the Oakland Raiders, is the top pick still available at the position and therefore probably out of the Saint's price range. With some restructering of Roman Harper's contract however, this top-end option could perhaps be more viable. Seymour ranked second only behind Geno Atkins in quarterback pressures in 2011 (with 40), and was on route for another impressive season if not for a mid-season hamstring injury.
A former jet, Pouha would be a perfect fit in the 3-4 defensive scheme and was ranked as the top defensive tackle in the 3-4 by Pro Football Focus in 2011. In his 2010 and 2011 campaigns, Pouha boasted at stat line of about 60 tackles, of which most were solo.
Negatives to both of these players is there age -- Seymour at 34 and Pouha at 33. With a Saints team looking to get younger, either of these pick-ups would only be a very temporary fix to a team in need of stable nose tackle.
With the pick-up of Butler, I think it's best to turn to the secondary, however other possible pass rushing linebackers could be found in James Harrison. The most popular position in need for an up-grade currently is cornerback opposite of Keenen Lewis, with the Saints reportedly heavily pursuing former Eagles Asomugha. Asomugha is apparently torn between the 49ers and Saints, and with the Saints pick-up of Butler, I can't imagine a whole lot of cap space remaining. However, if there is restructuring of Harper's contract this could make a Asomugha pick-up available. I turn now to safeties as Harper and Jenkins were ranked as the worst and second-worst safeties last year according to Pro Football Focus.
Rhodes posted impressive stats as a Cardinal, recording 1 sack and 4 interceptions in both 2010 and 2012 and dealing 90 and 67 tackles respecitvely. In 2012, he allows just a 64.5 QB rating for passes thrown into his coverage. Despite this performance, the Cardinals released him on March 12th and could be a valuable upgrade at the safety position.
Barber of the Bucs would not be my ideal candidate for a safety pick-up as he's now 37 (his prime being in the early to mid 2000s), but the seasoned veteran still puts up respectable numbers, tallying 90 tackles, 4 interceptions, 1 forced fumble, and 1 touchdown in his most recent season.
Another aging veteran, Mikell posted 101 tackles, 4 forced fumble, and 3 sacks in his most recent season with the Rams. When lined up in close coverage, Mikell excels leading the league in safety quarterback pressues with 14 and having the second most run-stops.