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2017 Saints Year in Review: DE Hau’oli Kikaha

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It’ll be interesting to see if Kikaha can stay healthy next year.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

You never want to throw the term “injury-prone” around lightly with a player, but after an injury history that includes season-ending injury and getting placed on IR each of the last two years, it’s hard not to think that DE/LB Hau’oli Kikahi might be a consistent injury risk.

NFL: New England Patriots at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Kikaha entered the NFL in 2015 playing primarily as a Linebacker, racking up tackles (with 51 total tackles) and registering an extra four sacks along the way. Then after missing all of 2016 with a torn ACL, Kikaha came back to the Saints in 2017 playing as a rotational pass-rushing edge player.

Kikaha was able to match his rookie year’s total in sacks playing primarily as a rotational piece behind DE Alex Okafor. Once Okafor went down with a torn Achilles, a larger role was asked of Kikaha, and he had one of his best moments late in the season against the Atlanta Falcons, making a key stop on 4th down.

Just days after the Christmas Eve game against the Falcons where the Saints clinched a playoff berth, Kikaha saw his season end due to an ankle injury that he suffered during the game.

As we enter the 2018 season, Kikaha is one of the names (along with Trey Hendrickson, a possibly-returning Alex Okafor, and any free agent acquisition) that will be competing for snaps opposite Cam Jordan on the Saints defense line.