The defensive line was outstanding last year getting to the quarterback and putting constant pressure in crucial moments. The biggest improvement was how healthy they managed to be expect for Sheldon Rankins who blew his Achilles in the divisional round against the Eagles. Even so, the depth was a difference maker down the line but consistency is what made them productive from start to finish. Like the offensive line, there is not much room for improvement or adjustments this year but you never know what can happen when free agency rolls around.
Defensive Ends: Cam Jordan | Alex Okafor (FA) | Marcus Davenport | Trey Hendrickson
Defensive Tackles: Sheldon Rankins | Tyeler Davison (FA) | David Onyemata | Taylor Stallworth
Jordan has been the leader for years now and is a fan favorite and loves this city. Okafor opted out on his contract but re-signed him is not out of the picture as Davenport is still a raw talent and needs to develop. Hendrickson had a redshirt year to improve his development as well. Inside, Rankins has been a beast, improving every year but that injury late in the season will probably land him on the PUP list to start the year and that will be tough. Davison is a guy who can either stay or go and the team would be happy either way. Onyemata had a career year last season and keeps improving on his pass rush skills. Stallworth made the roster undrafted and hopes to make more strides in year 2.
Free Agent Targets
Danny Shelton | Patriots
Young talent who won a Super Bowl last year and would be a big run stuffer. Still has a lot of untapped potential.
Tim Jernigan | Eagles
Missed a majority of last season due to injury but could be a nice replacement if Davison walks or to add to the rotation while Rankins is out.
Unless a player gets thrown into the market at a cheap price, do not expect the Saints to trade for an end or tackle.
Jerry Tillery | Notre Dame
Local product who has a very big frame who could be a versatile player at end and tackle. Needs to be more consistent and create mobility.
Just like the offensive line, the defensive line is pretty much set give or take a couple of players. The chemistry that they have is like no other. However, replacing Rankins for probably half the season will be the toughest task of all once the season comes around. Knowing the Saints, they will always find a diamond in the rough so it should not be something to worry about for now.
Follow Dom Lewis on Twitter @BigFella122