The Saints approach at restocking the linebacker position might have been as important as anything the team did last offseason. Drafting Marshon Lattimore and Alvin Kamara were franchise-changing moments. Getting jumped by the San Francisco 49ers at the end of the first round for the rights to linebacker Reuben Foster and then instead selecting Ryan Ramczyk was another big moment, as was adding guard Larry Warford in free agency. But it took years for New Orleans to settle the linebacker position. Stephone Anthony and James Laurinaitis were both big misses that played a part in the defense being unsettled and often ineffective for the better part of three seasons. So, when the Saints found competent players like A.J. Klein and Manti Te’o, who performed well enough but also served as players who could direct traffic within the front seven, it paid dividends. The confusion and missed assignments that were hallmarks of previous teams dissipated, allowing the defense to make plays and be considered fundamentally sound. That doesn’t mean the position is set. New Orleans had some issues in run defense and could justify adding talent at any of the linebacker spots. The run defense wasn’t as strong as it could have been last season, and there is room for a linebacker with better coverage skills and range.
New Orleans could justify adding more talent at linebacker
The Advocate | Feb 18