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Saints 2009 Position Battles: Defensive Tackle

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We're getting closer to the end of our early look at the Saints' 2009 roster as we discuss the teams defensive tackle candidates today. The depth here is a little thinner this year following the loss of both Brian Young, Hollis Thomas and Antwan Lake. The good news is that it's significantly younger as well. Deciding who will make the team, however, isn't too difficult barring an unexpected surprise.

Current defensive tackles on the Saints roster:

Player Height Weight Age Experience
Sedrick Ellis 6'1" 307 23 2
DeMario Pressley 6'3" 301 23 2
Kendrick Clancy 6'1" 305 30 10
Rod Coleman 6'2" 285 32 10
Remi Ayodele 6'2" 318 26 3
Earl Heyman 6'1" 289 21 R

Sedrick Ellis is the only player on this list that I would consider a sure thing. He worked his way into a starting role last season and no one on the team appears to be able to unseat him. Ed Orgeron is long gone and his contributions to the Saints organization were minimal to say the least but he was key in acquiring Sedrick Ellis so for that, we must thank him.

The only other defensive tackle who is practically a lock, though not a sure thing, is veteran Kendrick Clancy. With Young and Thomas now gone, Clancy's stock just shot up along with his name on the depth chart. Not only will he make the team this year, he should be starting unless someone else can knock him off.

Saints fans should be excited about finally getting to see 2008 draft pick DeMario Pressley in action this year. The defensive tackle was placed on IR during training camp last year only after creating a buzz about his talent. If Pressley is as impressive as all the talk suggests than he might be the one to oust Clancy from his starting spot. It would also greatly reduce the Saints lack of depth at DT.

What we can expect from Rod Coleman is anybody's guess. Coleman comes into training camp after taking the 2008 season off but was quite talented in his prime. Noted for his pass rushing ability more so than his run stuffing [Edited by Saintsational, 05/13/09 11:26 AM CDT ], Roderick could turn out to be a smart pick up. Like Pressley, if Coleman exceeds expectations than the Saints will have solved their defensive tackle depth issues.

Rounding out the list are Remi Ayodele and Earl Heyman, two players who face the toughest odds in training camp. Ayodele was brought in last year but only notched a total of three tackles in six games. Heyman was brought in last week and has yet to play a down in the NFL. Assuming the Saints are only keeping four DT's, both will need near miracles (read: injuries) to make the team this summer.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Is this position really that easy to predict or will there be a surprise or two during training camp this year?