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Why the New Orleans Saints Could Win it All, Part IX: Safeties

Rookie Vonn Bell is ready to turn heads.

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

To view previous Parts, click below:

Part I: Offensive Line

Part II: Running Backs

Part III: Wide Receivers

Part IV: Tight Ends

Part V: Quarterback

Part VI: Defensive Line

Part VII: Linebackers

Part VIII: Cornerbacks


New Orleans Saints Safety Jairus Byrd had 54 tackles, 1 INT, 5 deflected passes, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 sack.

The problem is: those stats are from Byrd's TWO years in New Orleans so far.

Byrd has been hit with injuries since he signed a massive six-year contract to come to New Orleans, and the former Pro-Bowl Safety is still recovering from injuries this offseason. Head Coach Sean Payton has told the media he fully expects Byrd to be ready for training camp, but most Saints fans know now to hold their breath regarding Payton's injury reports.

In 2015, Byrd finally recorded his first inception as a Saint in a Week 12 loss to the Houston Texans. Aside from that one play, Byrd really has not done much as a member of the Fleur de Lis.

In the 2016 NFL Draft, the Saints selected Ohio State Safety Vonn Bell in the 2nd Round (61st overall). Bell was arguably the best Safety in the entire draft, and comes to the Saints after being a part of the 2015 College Football Playoffs National Championship team.

So here's why they're better in 2016:

Maybe there is something to Rob Ryan's claims that the Saints haven't used Jairus Byrd properly. With another Safety in Vonn Bell coming to New Orleans, the Saints (and new Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen) will be able to play two Safeties at the same time.

Bell's scouting report out of Ohio State describes him as an elite defender in coverage. Bell is also a plus defender when he plays up in the box, which would allow the Saints to use Byrd as a center fielder-type Safety high over the top. When Byrd went to three Pro Bowls as a member of the Buffalo Bills, he played primarily as a ball-hawking Safety who even led the NFL in interceptions in his rookie year.

Another quality Safety in Vonn Bell to pair with Jairus Byrd will allow the Saints to defensively play to both players' strengths. With Byrd oft-injured and Bell just a rookie, the Saints might be wise to bring back a veteran to help guide Bell and to provide depth at the position. Anyone know a player like that who might be available? What about you, Roman Harper - know anyone?