4 New Orleans Saints Whose Roles Will Change in the 3-4

Jason BernosContributor IIFebruary 1, 2013

4 New Orleans Saints Whose Roles Will Change in the 3-4

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    With the New Orleans Saints changing over to a 3-4, there will be some players entering new roles. Some of which they had never tried their hand at before, but sometimes it turns out for the best.

    Now I'm not here to discuss players who will keep, basically, their same position with only changes to their responsibilities in that role.

    This will be those rare players who could actually make a major switch in their careers and succeed.

    Let's take a look at these guys.

    (You won't see Curtis Lofton, David Hawthorne or Cameron Jordan on this list because they have played the new roles or similar ones that will be accepted in the new 3-4 defense.)

Martez Wilson

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    This is the man whose name came to mind immediately following Sean Payton's change to a 3-4 defense.

    Not only is Wilson made for a rush 3-4 linebacker role, but he could very well excel in this new position. An added bonus thrown into that mix is that Wilson could flex to the inside and play alongside Curtis Lofton, just in case David Hawthorne's injury woes continue.

    In a 4-3 base defense, Wilson was limited to only passing situations, but in this new scheme his deficiencies in the run game will be masked and his pass-rushing ability should shine. He could be in line for a big year, just a year later then I predicted.

Junior Galette

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    As sure as I am with Wilson, that is just about as unsure as I would be with Galette in that same role. I am not saying that Galette would not excel in it, because he could. It's just that Wilson has experience playing in space and being successful in it.

    In Galette, it still remains to be seen, though.

    Like Wilson, he was limited to passing situations, so this should up his amount of snaps and hopefully up his production as well.

    It seems like he is built for this defense with the pass-rushing ability he possesses. Let's see how well he performs in space. Then we will see how high his ceiling is in this new scheme.

Brodrick Bunkley/Akiem Hicks

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    What position will Hicks play? 

    Is Bunkley a nose tackle in a 3-4?

    Those are going to be two of those more critical questions that will be needed to be answered this offseason.

    Hicks is an interesting specimen. He is 6' 5", 325 lbs and is just as versatile as Cameron Jordan when it comes to transitioning from a 4-3 to a 3-4. But where do you put him at? 

    Do you play him at end, where I think his skills could be best suited? Do you try him out at nose tackle, a position he could excel in like a Vince Wilfork? The only difference is Wilfork is three inches shorter.

    The only problem with playing him at nose tackle is that you limit his abilities by asking him to occupy blockers. He is better at disrupting the pocket and not just holding the fort down. 

    Bunkley is a different story.

    He has the height to be a nose tackle at a quaint 6' 2", but he's a little light being a few beignets shy of 310 lbs. There's no doubt Bunkley has the strength to play the position, but too many times he was nonexistent. Does that really change with a switch to a defense he has never played in in his life?

    His contract will dictate that they will definitely try him out in it. Whether he succeeds or not, who knows, but this Saints team can't afford to waste any more dead money on bad contract decisions.