Featuring Pete Werner and Demario Davis, the New Orleans Saints linebacker core was projected to be one of the best in the league last season. And although Werner was out with an injury for five weeks, the duo still held their own against some of the league’s best offenses.
However, a third elite linebacker emerged during the preseason and continued to progress throughout the season - Kaden Elliss.
In 2021, Elliss, the former Idaho Vandal, recorded nine solo tackles, one sack and zero forced fumbles. In 2022, he recorded a career-high 43 solo tackles (378% increase) this season along with seven sacks (600% increase) and two forced fumbles.
After an impressive preseason performance, it was clear that Elliss was going to have an increased role on the team. But in Werner’s absence, Elliss’ role increased dramatically.
Through the first nine weeks of the season, Elliss saw 25 average snaps per game and recorded 20 total tackles. Week nine’s matchup with Baltimore was when Werner left with an injury. From weeks 10 to 18, Elliss averaged 58 snaps per game and recorded 58 solo tackles.
Statistically, Elliss finished the season amongst the best players on the ‘Saints' defense. He was second on the team in sacks (7) - only behind Pro-Bowler Cam Jordan (8.5). He was fourth on the team in total tackles (78) and tied for first in forced fumbles (2).
Kaden’s impressive stretch in the second half of the season cemented the fact that he can start on an NFL roster. As previously mentioned, the linebacker core for New Orleans is the highlight of this defense, and Elliss fits right in with this elite unit.
“(Elliss has) probably been, for the last couple of years, the best-kept secret in the NFL,” Demario Davis said after Elliss’ twelve-tackle game against the Los Angeles Rams. “We knew what type of player he was and now he’s getting that opportunity and he’s showing it to the world.”
At 27-years-old, Kaden Elliss is entering his prime, but he’s also entering free agency this offseason. He’s beyond deserving of a new contract. In fact, out of every defensive free agent, he’s the one that Loomis can’t let get away.
Will we see more or less of Kaden Ellis next year (implying a healthy Werner and Davis)?
This poll is closed
Roughly the same