Which New Orleans Saints Newcomer Will Have the Biggest Impact in 2012?

Jason BernosContributor IIJune 26, 2012

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 08: Heath Miller #83 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs the ball against Brodrick Bunkley #77 of the Denver Broncos during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 8, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Denver Broncos defeated the the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime 23 - 29.   (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints signed some big names this offseason, mostly on the defensive side, and it's time to see which one will have the biggest impact on this new team come the fall.

My choice for this honor would be the "quietest" acquisition, the one who may end up having the biggest impact of them all. His name is Brodrick Bunkley.

I say quietest because his signing came on the same day that Roger Goodell handed out suspensions and fines to the people and organizations that were said to be involved in the recent scandal. 

Bunkley is a former first-round pick and his forte is stopping the run. That is definitely needed along the Saints' defensive line, as New Orleans has continually had problems in that department during the Sean Payton era.

Not only will Bunkley help the defensive line, he will free up others to have big impacts as well.

Bunkley's occupying of double-teams will make newly-signed Curtis Lofton, David Hawthorne and Chris Chamberlain even better, freeing them up to make big plays.

Bunkley had a career renaissance in Denver last season, after he was relegated to backup status towards the end of his Philadelphia tenure. The stat sheet might not say it, but his impact was huge on a team that relied heavily on their defense during their unexpected run to the playoffs.

Sedrick Ellis is in a contract year with the Saints, and this should be his make-or-break season for him after an up-and-down career in New Orleans to date. He could have a huge season next to Bunkley and price himself out of reach next offseason. That's the risk the Saints are willing to take with this year's third-round pick, Akiem Hicks, in play.

All of that translates to an immediate impact in the form of Bunkley. His presence will make the front seven of the defense better, and, in turn, will make the secondary better, as well.