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The linebackers unit might be the most talked about with their new additions, but the defensive line is going to be the one with the biggest spotlight on it. Maybe because this is new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's area of expertise.
He has his hands full with this unit, but he has tons of potential here with the right scheme.
Defensive end wasn't addressed in the draft, but the switch of Martez Wilson from outside linebacker to end will give Spags one more toy to use to generate pass rush. Wilson excelled rushing the passer in college, and he had a good end to the season when he caught up to the speed of the game.
Cameron Jordan will start at left defensive end but will flex inside on passing downs. His versatility is key to Spags' scheme.
Junior Galette will be the likely starter in place of Will Smith during his suspension. Galette, Greg Romeus and all of these young pass-rushers will shine in this new scheme, which puts more emphasis on getting a pass rush from the down linemen more than blitzing.
Defensive tackle was addressed in this draft with the Akiem Hicks pick. While he was chosen a bit high for my liking, he adds a pass-rushing element from the interior line and is solid against the run.
This is a make-or-break year for Sedrick Ellis, who, for a top-10 pick, has played pretty average during his Saints tenure. He is in the last year of his rookie contract, so look for him to have a very motivated season. Hicks and new addition Brodrick Bunkley should help out with that.
Bunkley could turn out to be the gem of this free-agent class. He is a run-stuffer who is just entering his prime on a team who is sorely in need of help against the run.
Veterans Remi Ayodele and Turk McBride also add depth along the defensive front.
Grade: C+ (This is a big boom-or-bust group. This could be an A if this group meshes well with Spags' scheme.)