Capping off a series of pieces from the past three years, we’re checking out the front-seven of the New Orleans Saints and discuss how they improve the Saints’ chances of making a run in 2022.
To view previous parts, see below:
The Saints are coming into this season expecting nothing short of stellar play in the trenches. New Orleans has been top three against the run-in back-to-back seasons and the pass rush has been amongst the best as well.
The pass rush starts with Cam Jordan, who’s second in the NFL in QB pressures (528) since 2014, only behind Aaron Donald (665). Cam’s play is aging like wine, to the point where he seems to be one of the most underrated pass rushers of our generation. His presence alone gives an impact that can’t be found on the stat sheet. We know what we’re getting with him... top-heavy, elite talent.
Last year’s rookie Payton Turner missed most of the season due to injuries to his calf and shoulder, so the verdict is still out on him. But... the small sample size we saw in the preseason showed reasons to be optimistic. Payton’s return paired with the addition of former Niners’ DE Carl Granderson brings New Orleans some depth... Some depth that will be vital later in the season.
Marcus Davenport is one of the more underrated pass rushers in football and he could be due for a break-out season. His film looked more than solid last year and he could be ready to take that next step, with newly added guys in the rotation.
2x All-Pro Demario Davis is arguably the best LB in football. He does it all, and his impact couldn’t possibly be shown on the stat sheet. He’s the biggest reason that New Orleans has been the best of the best stopping the run, and he covers in open space. On top of that, Pete Werner had a stellar rookie campaign last year. His future looks more than promising, but we’ll wait for a little more longevity before we really start ranking him amongst linebackers.
Bottom line, New Orleans’ defense is looking to go from elite, to better than elite and it starts in the trenches. All of these guys are still in their prime, looking to improve off of greatness. We know the DBs are prolific, but it still starts with the guys up front. They can make this season a lot smoother for a secondary that’s already elite. If the front-seven keeps up the every-week consistency and builds off of it, New Orleans fans could see another season where teams are lucky to score 17 points.