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Saints linebackers getting better, faster, stronger

The Saints got another linebacker who could outrun you. Celebrate that.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - New York Jets linebacker Demario Davis salutes the crowd after intercepting New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees at MetLife Stadium.
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - New York Jets linebacker Demario Davis salutes the crowd after intercepting New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees at MetLife Stadium.
Photo by Ron Antonelli/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints continued fumigating the linebacker corps by signing New York Jets free agent Demario Davis. The movement started two years ago with the additions of Craig Robertson and Nate Stupar, picked up steam last spring with A.J. Klein, Manti Te’o, and Alex Anzalone, and now reaches its logical conclusion via Davis.

Davis is on the older side (he turned 29-years old back in January) but he brings a combination of experience and athletic upside the Saints desperately need. He runs well and defends his zone ably, making for a great fit in the middle of the field. Check out how well he plays this look off of a disguised blitz to drop back as the seam defender:

Davis looks like a natural fit given Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen’s love for these double A-gap linebacker blitzes. He’s an effective pass rusher when his number is called for real, there, too - last year he bagged five sacks and fifteen other quarterback hits on 145 attempts last year. That fits what the Saints have been looking for at linebacker, with Klein and Anzalone also known for their blitzing ability.

The best thing Davis has to offer is potentially pushing reserves like Craig Robertson off the roster. Look at the difference in how they defend similar routes:

So you’re staring down the barrel of Davis starting at middle linebacker (he led the Jets defense, and nearly the entire NFL, with 1,116 snaps last year) with Anzalone and Klein flanking him. Te’o gets work as your fourth man, but maybe you luck into one of the several talented rookies like Rashaan Evans, Leighton Vander Esch, or Lorenzo Carter in this year’s NFL Draft to round out the group. That’s a situation that stands to look miles better than what we’ve seen in the past.