With Martez, Cam, Harp, Jenks, and Kenny, The Saints Have Very Athletic Defense And Can Be Dominating!
By Super Scout Max Emfinger
Last season, the New Orleans Saints lost their Head Football Coach Sean Payton and their Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams. The results were not good as they finished with a 7-9 record and their Defense was one of the Worst in NFL History as they gave up 7,042 yards of Total Offense.
After a year without Coach Payton and Coach Williams, the Saints decided that they needed to do something to repair their Defense. The Saints answer was to hire a new Defensive Coordinator. Since the Dallas Cowboys had just fired one of the best in Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan, the New Orleans Saints decided to hire him.
Then with Coach Ryan re-building the Defense, and with Offensive Genius Sean Payton, back at the helm as Head Coach; and with All-Pro Quarterback Drew Brees coming back after his third 5,000-yard season with 5,177-yards and 43 Touchdowns and putting up huge numbers again; it would seem to give the Saints another chance to get back to the Super Bowl.
And if the last two weeks is any indication, then the Saints just might be headed back to the Super Bowl. Let’s see now! Last week, Drew Brees and the Saints scored on the last play of the game to beat the Tampa Bay Bucs by a 16-14 score. And then, this past Sunday, Brees had another 300-yard game; while Super Star Tight End Jimmy Graham (In Photo) caught eight passes for 136-yards and Two Touchdowns on Offense.
Three other Offensive Stars for the Saints and who are my Favorites include Rookie WR Kenny Stills, RB Darren Sproles, and WR Robert Meachem.
Stills is a Rookie and he was Drafted in the 2013 NFL Draft by the Saints and he was the #65 Overall Pick in that Draft. After recording an unbelievable and Legit 4.3 Forty; a 4.13 Pro-Shuttle; and a 124 Standing Broad Jump, Stills recorded a great 1,940 MEARS RATING. A few years ago, I chatted with Stills a couple times about playing in my All-American Bowl Game Classic, but he played in another game before signing with Oklahoma.
Darren Sproles is 5-6, but he is the most electrifying player on the field when he is in the game and with Brees and Graham, Sproles sometimes gets lost in the Publicity. Against the Cards on Sunday, Sproles recorded 109-Yards of Total Offense and his name was barely mentioned on Monday in the Newspaper. Defensive Players have a really hard time finding him once he gets behind some Saints Offensive Linemen. Here is a player who ran one of the fastest Pro-Shuttles in the NFL Scouting Combine History when he ran a 3.96 Pro-Shuttle at the 2005 NFL Scouting Combine. Sproles was Drafted #4 and #13o Overall by the San Diego Chargers in 2005.
The Saints Defense was led by Cam Jordan who recorded Four Tackles, including two tackles for a loss; had three Quarterback Hurries, and two Quarterback Sacks. Super-Star Rush Linebacker Junior Galette (In Photo) was disruptive again as he finished the game with three tackles, two Quarterback Hurries, and one Quarterback Sack. In the Photo, Galette is recording his second Quarterback Sack of the season on Cards Quarterback Carson Palmer. Rookie Sensation Kenny Vaccaro also recorded his first Interception of his NFL Career.
If you are planning on bringing Coach Rob Ryan to the Saints as your new Defensive Coordinator, then there are a few things to remember and there are a few things to remember when you start to rebuild a Defense: Are there great Defensive Players already on the Team? And who are some Key Players in the current NFL Draft that can be Drafted and brought in to the Saints for success in the New 3-4 Defense.
In the last four years in the NFL Draft, the Saints have Drafted some incredible Athletic Players who are capable of playing at least two or three positions; whereas most NFL Players are limited to only one or maybe two positions. This is very important when changing a 4-3 Defense to a 3-4 Defense and the biggest reason to make the change is to get more Athletic Players on the field at the same time and particularly in the passing situations. It causes a MisMatch on Offensive Blocking Assignments and it puts many more Athletic Players in the game to rush the passer.
In the 2010 NFL Draft, the Saints #1 Draft Choice was cornerback Patrick Robinson recorded a 39-inch Vertical Jump and a 4.14 Shuttle; giving him a 1,990 MEARS RATING and an overall #16 Overall MEARS PLAYER RATING in the 2010 Draft. Galette was also in the 2010 NFL Draft and he recorded a 4.77 Forty; a great 33.5 Vertical Jump; and an incredible 4.16 Pro-Shuttle. Galette recorded a very impressive 1,911 MEARS RATING but he was not Drafted and he signed with the Saints as a Free Agent.
Then in 2011, Coach Payton was at the LSU Indoor Facilities for LSU Pro-Day and we were talking and I decided to give him my 2011 Top 150 MEARS PLAYERS RATINGS White Binder for the 2011 NFL Draft. I took a photo of Coach Payton and Coach Williams. Both Coach Payton and Coach Williams really wanted their Top three Players and they got them. Those Top Three Players were Super Combine Freaks, including Linebacker Martez Wilson and Defensive End Cameron Jordan; plus Running Back Mark Ingram.
Martez Wilson (6-4 and 250) of The University of Illinois was one of the most amazing and athletic Linebackers in the History of the NFL Scouting Combine as he recorded an incredible 4.42 Forty; did a 36-inch Vertical Jump; and did an outstanding 4.28 in the Pro-Shuttle. Wilson can play any of the Four Linebacker Positions, in the 3-4 Defense; plus Rush Defensive End and what makes him Special is that he can play any one of the positions on any given play in any game. Wilson and Von Miller were the First Linebackers in NFL Scouting Combine History to record a 2,000 MEARS RATING. Wilson recorded a 2,070 MEARS RATING and Miller recorded a 2,087 MEARS RATING with 4.46 Forty; 37-inch Vertical Jump; and 4.06 Pro-Shuttle.
At the same 2011 NFL Scouting Combine, there were three Super Combine Freaks at Defensive End. Ryan Kerrigan of the Washington Redskins recorded a 2,060 MEARS RATING and J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans recorded a 2,050 MEARS RATING; while the Saints Cam Jordan (In Photo) (6-4 and 287) ran a 4.72 Forty; did a 32-inch Vertical Jump; and a 4.37 Shuttle as he recorded a great 2,034 MEARS RATING. All of the three players are Athletic Freaks, who can play two or three positions, including End and Tackle. In the New 3-4 Defense, Jordan can play either DT or DE.
Although the New Orleans Saints Defensive Team did not do well in 2012, Linebacker Curtis Lofton had the best year of his career as he recorded 157 tackles, including 94 solo tackles. Lofton is another Athletic Freak who was a #4 Draft Choice in the 2008 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons. In the 2008 Oklahoma Pro-Day, Lofton (6-0 and 246) improved his Measurables from the 2008 NFL Scouting Combine, as he ran a 4.63 Forty; did a 32-inch Vertical Jump; and did a 4.54 Pro-Shuttle.
Lofton is one of the Cowbells for Rob Ryan and Linebacker Coach Joe Vitt’s New 3-4 Defense and he was the Leading Tackler for the Saints on Sunday when he recorded eight tackles, including seven solo tackles.
Two of my favorite Saints and who were both #1 Draft Choices in the 2004 NFL Draft are Super Star Defensive End Will Smith and Super Star Inside Linebacker Jonathan Vilma. I also remember Rating both of them in High School before they went on to College Stardom and to the NFL as #1 Draft Choices. But both of these Potential Super Stars were injured early this season and are out for the season.
Roman “Harp” Harper and Malcolm Jenkins are also two of my favorite safeties in the NFL and they will be joined by The Saints 2013 #1 Draft Choice and my Hometown Safety Kenny Vaccaro. Now there are three Saints Safety Favorites. Harper is currently injured, but Jenkins and Vaccaro played outstanding on Sunday.
Harper is a former University of Alabama Super Star who started 38 of his final 49 games and recorded 302 tackles from his Strong Safety position fot the Crimson Tide. Harper (6-0 and 198) ran a 4.5 in the Forty; did a 36-inch Vertical Jump; and a 4.34 Shuttle at the 2006 Alabama Pro-Day.
Harper was a Saints #2 Draft Choice and a #43 Overall Pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. Harper is probably the most aggressive tackler on the Saints and he is the only Safety in Saints History to be selected to the NFL Pro-Bowl twice. Since being Drafted in 2006, Harper has been the Saints Starter for Six years and has started 99 games.
Although the Saints Defense did not do well in 2012, Harper finished second on the team in tackles with 124 tackles, including 91 solo tackles. Harper is also one of the best Blitze Safeties in the NFL and in the New Rob Ryan 3-4 Defense, Harper will be used even more in his Safety Blitze Speciality. Harper is also a very active Businessman in New Orleans with his Hope 41 Foundation.
Malcolm “Jenks” Jenkins was the Saints #1 Draft Choice and #14 Overall Pick in 2008. He was a Consensus All-American and a Unanimous All-Big Ten for Ohio State. Jenkins was also considered to be the best Defensive Back and most Athletic Defensive Back to come out of the Big-Ten since Charles Woodson won the 1997 Heisman Trophy.
Jenkins (6-0 and 204) was a 2009 NFL Scouting Combine Freak as he averaged a 4.45 on his two Forties; did a 33-inch Vertical Jump; did a 4.08 Pro-Shuttle; and a 124 Standing Broad Jump.
With two Potential All-Pro Safeties, why would the Saints want to Draft another Safety as their 2013 #1 Draft Choice? In the New Rob Ryan 3-4 Defense, the Saints will be using a Nickel-Back on most all Passing Situations and Kenny Vaccaro was probably the best Free Safety or Strong Safety in the 2013 NFL Draft. On top of that, Vaccaro might have been the most versatile Safety in the Draft, playing man-to-man on most Opponent Slot Receivers, including West Virginia All-American Tavan Austin who was the Rams #1 Pick and #8 Overall Pick.
Vaccaro played all over the Football Field for The Texas Longhorns Defense in 2012 and demonstrated a tremendous versatility in starting games in the Big-12 at both Free and Strong Safety positions; plus Strongside Linebacker and Middle LBer. When viewing Vaccaro on Film, the one thing that separated him from the rest of the safeties in an unusually strong 2013 Draft Class was his tremendous overall athletic ability. Vacarro (6-0 and 214) also demonstrated great athleticism in the NFL 2013 Scouting Combine as he ran a 4.53 Forty; did a great 38-inch Vertical Jump; a great 4.06 Pro-Shuttle; and a 121 Standing Broad Jump, as he recorded a tremendous 1,993 MEARS RATING.
“We felt that if Vaccaro was available, we would be getting an awfully good defensive player to help us rebuild our defense,” said Coach Sean Payton. “Vacarro brings a tremendous physical dimension to his game as you can see on his highlight film.”
Vacarro played a lot of Nickel-Defense for Texas in the Big-12, because a lot of Big-12 teams ran the Spread Offense and he was assigned to cover the Tight End and/or Slot Wide Receiver. This is the perfect position for Vacarro in the Saints 3-4 Defense and he will team with Harper and Jenkins in the Nickel-Back Coverage on passing situations.
The Saints have three great Safeties and with Jabari Greer, they also have one of the best Cornerbacks in the NFL. In the Cards game, on Sunday, Greer recorded five solo tackles. Greer is a Lockdown Cover Cornerback with tremendous speed and Ball-Skills to make plays all over the field. Greer (5-11, 180, 4.4) has evolved into one of the Saints great Defensive Leaders. He was an Undrafted Free Agent from the University of Tennessee.
OK! So now we have some Defensive Ends, Linebackers, Three Safeties, and a great Cornerback. And so now we need at least One Nose Tackle.
Nose Tackle John Jenkins would be the Icing on the Cake at Nose-Guard if he can get in shape and play with the intensity that he is capable of playing. The Saints were ecstatic to be able to Draft Jenkins in the #3 Round and #82 Overall Pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Jenkins (6-4 and 332) was my #69 Best MEARS RATING Selection in the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine for the 2013 NFL Draft with a great 1,934 MEARS RATING. At the 2013 Scouting Combine, Jenkins did an amazing 34.5 Vertical Jump; did a 4.94 Pro-Shuttle, and he also did 30 Reps of 225-Pounds.
Akiem Hicks (6-5 and 318) was a #3 Draft Choice and #89 Overall Choice in The 2012 NFL Draft for the Saints. Hicks was also a Super Combine Freak as he recorded a great 1,916 MEARS RATING as he ran a 4.95 Forty; did an outstanding 32-inch Vertical Jump; did a great 4.86 Pro-Shuttle; and a 119 Standing Broad Jump. Hicks started his College Career at LSU, but finished at Regina, Canada. Hicks is another Super Athlete who will be given a chance to start for the Saints at either the Inside Nose-Guard position or Defensive End.
I have been very impressed with the Saints Players this Spring and Summer. I have also been extremely impressed with them getting off to an unbelievable 3-0 in this 2013 season after their disappointing season in 2012. Most of these Saints Players have come from winning college programs and they are great competitors who do not like to lose. Their 4-3 Defense in 2012 was thrown together at the last moment, because of the situation that they were in and it just did not work out for them.
With their Hero Head Coach Sean Payton back, all of the Saints Players, Coaches, and Fans feel like something Very Special is about to happen. Everyone also knows that the Saints can score a lot of points with Coach Payton on the sideline; Drew Brees at Quarterback; and with Monster Tight End Jimmy Graham in the game. This also has made the Saints Defensive Players that much more receptive and hungry to the change to the New 3-4 Defense with their New Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan.
The Saints Defensive Players have really worked hard to learn everything that they could in a short period of time that they spent in the Organized Team Activity (OTA) and then their MiniCamp. The Saints Players actually found out that Coach Rob Ryan, their New Defensive Coordinator, was a lot like their Old Defensive Coordinator Coach Gregg Williams and they had a lot of fun learning all of the New things that they thought would help them get back to the Super Bowl.
To be Honest. There are not too many Defenses in the NFL that have the overall Athletic Players and Athletic Talent that is on the Saints. There are some very Talented Defenses in the NFL, but as far as pure Athleticism, the Saints have one of the most talented teams. With their New 3-4 Defense, coupled with their Athleticism on Defense and Drew Brees on Offense; the Saints can and should get back to the Super Bowl.