It’s been a while, but the New Orleans Saints can finally say their defense features an All-Pro talent: defensive end Cameron Jordan was selected to the list for the first time in his career. This honor comes on the heels of Jordan’s career year, which also earned him his third Pro Bowl nod; he had the most sacks (13), pass deflections (12), and solo tackles (48) of his seven-year run in New Orleans. He was also the Saints’ nomination for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award, in recognition of his volunteer work at New Orleans-area children's hospitals and elementary schools.
He’s put in the same conversation for Defensive Player of the Year with stars like Calais Campbell (Jacksonville Jaguars), Chandler Jones (Arizona Cardinals), . That’s even more impressive when you consider that Jordan has ranked in the top four of defensive snaps played every year of his career.
Jordan’s dominance has finally gotten its due praise from around the football world. Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen acknowledged as such in an article written by the Times-Picayune’s Josh Katzenstein, quoted as saying:
“I’m glad to see he is getting some of the recognition that he deserves because at least the last three years since I’ve been here, he’s been a really productive player and a defensive force for us. I think he’s seeing some of the fruits of that labor and the fact that he has some guys around him that are producing at a good rate allows him to get a little bit more recognition.”
That comment holds weight when you look at similarly-productive names around the league: of all the NFL’s defensive linemen and pass rushers, only four have logged more tackles at the line of scrimmage over the last two years than Jordan.
Top NFL DL/EDGEs over the last two years in tackles at the line. pic.twitter.com/6Qgq8PPzSv— Justis Mosqueda (@JuMosq) January 5, 2018
The Saints were finally able to get some help for Jordan through recent draft picks along the defensive front like Sheldon Rankins and David Onyemata, as well as standout talents on the back end like Marshon Lattimore and Marcus Williams. Don’t overlook the impact of free agent signings including Alex Okafor, Manti Te’o, and A.J. Klein, either.
It’s a little disappointing that the Saints did not see more players land on the All-Pro first team, with strong cases made especially by Lattimore and dynamic tailbacks Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. But it should be reassuring to fans that Ingram’s contract will not void as it would have with an appearance. Other Saints who did get votes, though not ultimately enough to win included:
- Flex: Kamara (9), second to Le’Veon Bell (Pittsburgh Steelers). Kamara also earned one vote at Kick Returner
- Right Tackle: Ryan Ramczyk (1)
- Left Guard: Andrus Peat (1)
- Right Guard: Larry Warford (1)
- Center: Max Unger (1)
- Cornerback: Lattimore (6). Lattimore also earned votes (3) at generic Defensive Back
So let’s all toast one high to Cameron Jordan. Here’s to another elite game against the NFC South’s lesser Cam in this weekend’s playoff game.