Today, the Saints confirmed they have signed veteran free agent and former Detroit Lion defensive end Daryll Tapp. To make room for the signing, tight end Jack Tabb was released. So in with the Tapp and out with the Tabb, I guess. Even though Mickey Loomis pointed to Tabb as a possible replacement for Josh Hill less than a year ago, his release is not surprising. Just the other day, Tabb would have likely been released if the Saints had successfully claimed Connor Shaw off waivers from the Cleveland Browns.
After starring for Virginia Tech in college, Tapp was picked in the second round of the 2006 NFL draft by the Seattle Seahawks. He played there for four years and never missed a game. While his sack totals were higher towards the beginning of his career, Tapp has proven to be a reliable, durable, run stuffer and edge setter. He has never missed more than 5 games in a single season, while playing a full 16 games 6 different times over his ten year career.
Hau’oli Kikaha started the 2015 season strong, but after dealing with lingering injuries and/or misuse along the line by his coaches, the Saints rookie out of Washington University finished with 31 tackles, 4 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles. While playing for Detroit last year, Tapp registered 27 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles in a limited role. Though I am still bummed about Kikaha’s likely season ending injury, the Saints did a great job adding an experienced player with similar production.
Don’t get it twisted. I realize Tapp is a run stuffing, edge setting specialist with below average pass rushing skills. The soon to be 32 year old has not been added to the roster to replace Kikaha’s relentless motor towards the opposing quarterback. But let’s not pretend the Saints run defense (ranked 31st, 2,076 yards) was any better than their pass defense (also ranked 31st, 4,544 yards) last season. Any help on the edge will be greatly appreciated, especially by fellow defensive end Cameron Jordan, who excels when paired with another formidable end.
Overall, I think this is a great veteran signing that should help shore up the Saints leaky run defense and provide more depth on special teams. It also helps that the Saints play Tapp’s former team, the Detroit Lions, in the Dome on December 4th this coming season. Remember the damage the Cleveland Browns did to the Saints following their off-season signing of linebacker Scott Fugita? I can’t wait for Tapp to register his first sack as a Saints so I can scream, "Tapp Dat!"