6 Saints That Will Return With a VENGEANCE in 2017

7 of 7

Oct 25, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New Orleans Saints linebacker Stephone Anthony (50) intercepts a pass in the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. New Orleans defeats Indianapolis 27-21. Mandatory Credit: Sam Riche-Tribune News Service


Anthony is the only player on our list whose season was not derailed because of injury, though he did suffer a preseason leg injury that could have perhaps set back his development a bit.

Anthony was the Saints second 1st round draft choice in 2015 (31st overall) from Clemson, in a pick they received as part of the compensation in the Jimmy Graham trade to Seattle.

Anthony was immediately plugged in as the starting middle linebacker, where he led the team in tackles with 112, a rookie team record. Although suffering from some struggles with play recognition or reaction, it was largely regarded as normal rookie struggles.

When New Orleans signed linebackers Craig Robertson, Nate Stupar and James Laurinaitis in the off-season, they made the decision to move Anthony to an outside position in hopes of taking advantage of Anthony’s terrific athletic ability.

The move turned out to be a borderline disaster for both New Orleans and Stephone Anthony.

Next: New Orleans Saints Off-Season Moves: 5 Bold Predictions

Anthony’s development as a player came to a screeching halt, and his struggles to grasp Dennis Allen’s playbook along with the position change caused some to question Anthony’s “football IQ” and his ability to be a productive NFL linebacker.

By all accounts, Anthony is a hard worker, and no one can question his athleticism, so perhaps this will be nothing more than a “sophomore slump” and Anthony will play up to his first round status in 2017. Regardless, 2016 was certainly a lost season for Anthony.

We’ve been told privately here at Big Easy Believer that a move BACK to the middle is indeed very possible for the 24 year old linebacker, despite the fact that Robertson filled that position quite well following the failure of Laurinaitis to capably produce — a reason why he (Laurinaitis) was eventually released by the team in November.

One look at the above named talent that occupied the Saints injury list for 2016 makes one wonder how they even managed to stay in contention for as long as they did.

As the team looks to build for the future, and continue to fill the holes in the current roster; it should be encouraging to know that the “Forgotten Saints” are reinforcements already waiting in the wings for 2017 — and will look to RETURN WITH A VENGEANCE………