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When asked about his expectations for the year, Cam Jordan said he wants to be a top 5 defense. He went on to state that the defensive line is “star studded, and for the most part, underappreciated.” With the addition of UTSA standout Marcus Davenport, the Saints have the perfect mix of youth, experience, and talent to make his dreams a reality. Alex Okafor returns to the line after tearing his Achilles in 2017. Before his injury in Week 11, Okafor proved himself as a valuable option to the Saints defense, adding 43 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 4 passes defended. Tyeler Davison and David Onymeta also return to the defensive line, who both have shown they provide solid depth and can step up when needed. Possibly one of the most underrated defensive linemen around the league, Sheldon Rankins, will continue to make the team better. Rankins impact on the team goes far beyond what shows up on the stat sheet, and fans will see more of him becoming a problem for opposing offenses.
After an impressive 2017, the secondary made all the right offseason moves. The Saints brought back slot cornerback Patrick Robinson, who made a name for himself during his time with the Eagles. Kurt Coleman provides leadership to the young core, which is important to Marcus Williams and Von Bell who will be working side by side with Coleman. Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen frequently runs three safety sets, meaning Coleman/Williams/Bell will often be seeing the field together. Possibly the Saints best free agent addition is linebacker Demario Davis. Davis ended the #8 best LB on PFF, and showed his versatility allows him to play both the mike or the will. The Saints drafted two new pieces in Kamrin Moore and Natrell Jamerson as well, who should see limited snaps on defense while making a special teams impact.
With new free agency additions and a successful draft, the Saints are in a position to build off the success they saw last year. With many returning players, and key pieces coming off injury, a top 5 defense is not out of the question.