Bringing back a series of pieces from the past three years, we’re going to check each position group on the New Orleans Saints and discuss how they improve the Saints’ chances of making a run in 2020. On to the first position group on defense: the defensive line!
To view previous parts, see below:
The New Orleans Saints defensive line made massive strides again in 2019 from years past. The Saints defensive line was able to both contain the run while also getting after the opposing quarterback. The Saints gave up the 4th-fewest rushing yards per game, while also averaging the 4th-most sacks per game, the only team to be in the top five in both categories.
So here’s why they’re better in 2020:
Cam Jordan was his usual iron horse self, playing in all 16 games for the 9th time in his 9-year career. But aside from Jordan and Malcom Brown, the rest of the defensive line missed time to injury.
After the Saints traded up for Davenport in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Saints have had to be patient with him last year as injuries hindered his growth. Davenport missed three games in 2018 and another three games last season. Sheldon Rankins missed 6 games last year to an Achilles, and even Mario Edwards missed a game. David Onyemata wasn’t injured last year, but missed a game in 2019 to suspension.
However, all signs are pointing to everyone healthy and ready to go in 2020. Between Marcus Davenport and Cam Jordan, the Saints have a pair of complete defensive ends the likes of which the Saints haven’t seen since the Jordan/Galette or the Cam Jordan/Will Smith days. As Davenport (and Onyemata and a healthy Rankins) continue to grow, the Saints defensive line will continue to be among the NFL’s elite. And there are rumors the Saints defensive line could get even better...