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Saints 2017 Year in Review: Chris Banjo

Chris Banjo looks to be a bigger part of the Saints defensive plans entering 2018.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Banjo came into the league in 2013 as an undrafted free agent with the Green Bay Packers. He joined the New Orleans Saints down the stretch of the 2016 season after being released by the Packers. He made enough of an impression on Saints coaches that they elected to sign him to a contract after the season. Earning a roster spot in training camp primarily because of his special teams abilities, Banjo added aggressiveness and atheticism to the unit.

NFL: NFC Divisional Playoff-New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Banjo's primary contribution to New Orleans came on special teams, where he was named as a Pro Bowl alternate, forcing one fumble, recovering another, and contributing on a number of big plays. He did see some significant snaps on the defensive side of the ball at safety as well, working his way into the rotation by the end of the season and playoffs. The 5'10 207-lb safety grabbed his first career interception during a late season showdown with Atlanta, and held up well in coverage for an improved Saints defense.

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Banjo will have an opportunity to work his way further up the depth chart as New Orleans nears the 2018 season. He is a solid tackler and fluid athletically in coverage. The Saints announced last week that they will allow safety Kenny Vaccaro, a 1st round pick in 2013, to test the free agent market. Marcus Williams and Vonn Bell are very capable starters, and the Saints just signed former Carolina Panthers safety Kurt Coleman. Banjo will have a chance to compete for the 3rd safety position valued by defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. He provided good defensive depth down the stretch of the 2017 season, particularly after Vaccaro was lost due to injury. How highly the Saints address the safety position is a determination on how strongly they feel about Banjo's ability to step into this role.