The 12 Days of New Orleans Saints Christmas

3 of 12

Jan 1, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Northwestern Wildcats running back Justin Jackson (21) runs the ball against Tennessee Volunteers defensive back Derek Barnett (9) in the second half at the 2016 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Tennessee defeated Northwestern 45-6. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports


The Saints defense simply does not have an individual player that keeps opposing quarterbacks and coaches up all night in fear.

Cam Jordan is arguably one of the best all-around defensive ends in the league, but he’s not a Von Miller, JJ Watt, Khalil Mack-type of elite pass rusher.

Hau’oli Kikaha could possibly be that type of player; but his three major knee injuries is the concern that makes that unlikely.

Dannell Ellerbe has been a very effective blitzer this year, but that is not his strength, and his injury history makes him unreliable.

Free agent Paul Kruger proved to be a wasted signing, unless coordinator Dennis Allen somehow has access to a time machine.

Rookie Sheldon Rankins has shown some nice ability to get penetration from his defensive tackle position, but additional pressure is needed from the outside to make him more effective.

A player who can consistently pressure the pass pocket is undoubtedly at the top of this teams wishlist heading into the off-season.

A name for Saints fans to remember headed into the New Year: University of Tennessee defensive end / edge rusher Derek Barnett (pictured right above) — who has been projected by some (including us) as the possible #1 pick by the Saints in the 2017 NFL Draft next April.

The lack of pass rush highlighted how thin the Saints were in the secondary, has contributed mightily to the team ranking near the bottom of the league in pass defense over the last few seasons.

Another big contributor to their sometimes woeful pass defense is a Saints player who gets our next gift….