2016 New Orleans Saints Mid-Season Grades – Defense

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Oct 2, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive end Tyeler Davison (95) nose tackle Nick Fairley (90) and defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) during the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports


Now in his 6th season, defensive end Cam Jordan is one of the unquestioned leaders of the team. Jordan is a solid all-around player, who in recent seasons has had almost constant double teams against him, due to the lack of talent along the line.

First round draft choice Sheldon Rankins saw his first action of the year last week against the 49ers. He will be needed to provide a disruptive force on the inside down the stretch.

Free agent signings have given the entire defense mixed returns, at best; with Nick Fairley perhaps being the line’s MVP, Paul Kruger playing the role of an invisible man, and Daryl Tapp having to play more than expected, due to injury and ineffectiveness.

Last year’s 5th round pick, Tyeler Davison has played well at times, but needs to be more consistent. Rookie David Onyemata is definitely a project, but the coaches seem confident in his ability.

Kasim Edebali is used (and needed) to do just one thing: rush the passer, something that he has not done with consistency.

The Saints released tackle John Jenkins on Tuesday, which only means that we get to write as much about him as he provided the unit in results during his 4 years as a Saint: which of course, was virtually nothing at all.

This group HAS to be more disruptive than they have been. The unit has played a bit better against the run in recent weeks, but needs to take the pressure off of an athletically limited linebacker corps and an injury ravaged secondary.