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NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – DECEMBER 30: Cameron Jordan #94 of the New Orleans Saints lines up during a NFL game against the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 30, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Names like All-Pro defensive end Cameron Jordan, rookie Marcus Davenport, dominate defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, and Alex Okafor graced the New Orleans Saints defensive line last season. Coming into the 2019 season, changes have been made to some of the front four. The Saints will not return Okafor (moved to the Chiefs), Tyeler Davidson moves on to the Falcons, and Rankins will miss at least the first six games of the season with his Achilles injury. With fresh faces in the mix, here is the New Orleans Saints 2019 defensive line outlook.

Outlook for the New Orleans Saints 2019 Defensive Line

New Faces

With Rankins out for significant time that will stretch into the season, the Saints went out and signed Malcom Brown, two time Super Bowl Champion with the New England Patriots. Brown is not an overwhelming player, but he has shown the consistent ability to stop the run. During the Patriots playoff run, Brown’s disruption in the run game made the difference in stopping the Rams rush offense in the Super Bowl last season.

Another player the Saints brought in is defensive end and tackle Mario Edwards Jr. The former 2015 second rounder out of Florida State was drafted by the Oakland Raiders. Edwards came on the scene strong his rookie year, recording 42 tackles, two sacks and three tackles for loss. Since then, Edwards has not lived up to his potential, and this will be his third team in three years. However, Edwards Jr. has the potential to be a break out star in this Saints defense. With Cameron Jordan being a focal point, Edwards has the flexibility to be a pass rusher, and work in the interior as well.

Rookies

Shy Tuttle leads the class of defensive line rookies for the Saints. Tuttle may be a long shot to make the 53 man roster, but he has been through plenty of adversity. Coming back from two season ending injuries has propelled him to where he is now, and the Saints need run stuffers. Rankins and Davidson really help lead the Saints rush defense. If Tuttle can stay healthy, he can have a real chance to stick around.

Carl Granderson is another player to look out for. The University of Wyoming standout had a monster junior year with 8.5 sacks, 16 tackles for loss and 78 total tackles. His long arms give him an advantage when bull rushing our creating separation at the line. There are reports that the Saints undrafted free agent signee has one of the quickest first steps and impressed at the mini camp a couple of weeks ago. However, the only potential downside is an impending sexual assault trial is on the horizon for Granderson, stemming from his time at Wyoming. The trial is set for July, so it will be something to watch when that time comes.

Who Needs to Step Up

I’m looking at you Trey Hendrickson. Don’t get me wrong, Hendrickson is a great player but it is time for him to turn the corner. This is season number three, and after a disappointing 2018 season where most of the snaps were already taken by training camp, competition for snaps this season is wide open. The only two for sure locks are Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport. Which brings me to my next point.

Marcus Davenport cannot have a sophomore slump. The second year player came on strong down the stretch of his rookie season, proving to be a legit problem as a pass rusher. His toe injury slowed him down a bit, but if Davenport can get more than 5 sacks next season and be a force in the run game setting the edge, this Saints front four’s ceiling is through the roof.

Finally, David Onyemata‘s status for the beginning of the season is up in the air. Will he serve a suspension for being cited for marijuana possession? If not, Onyemata is constantly improving and he will certainly be apart of that starting front four should he not be suspended.

Last Word on the Saints 2019 Defensive Line

The Saints defensive line room is probably the deepest and most talented position group on the team. With Cameron Jordan leading the way, this group has the potential to be the most dominant in the league. If Sheldon Rankins comes back as a version of himself, and the young guys and veterans who have been signed in free agency gel, they will be dangerous. It should be an exciting training camp.

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