So losing Ellis made or defensive front 7 great all of the sudden and Boshrod was some all-world LT we can't replace? Did y'all see that Bushrod was just an average LT and our defense was abysmal last year?
Losing Eliis is a HUGE addition by subtraction, as he took time away from Hicks who showed promise in his limited role.
At NT, Bunkley and Hicks look to be a good combo that could disrupt the middle. Both players were underused by spags who for whatever stupid reason played Ellis way too much.
At DE we have Jordan locking down one spot and Hicks, Smith, Coleman, and others(Johnson and Walker for instance who could also back up the Nose) to compete for the other spot.
We have 3 solid vets in Lofton, Hawthorne, and Vilma to man the ILB spots. At OLB we have Galette, Wilson, and Butler(with possibly Broughton being a good switch to OLB) and Hawthorne could be a cover OLB when we aren't rushing both.
So yeah I think the front 7 is pretty set minus maybe a young DE to step in for Coleman/Smith next year or a vet OLB to help teach the youngins this year.
For the back we have:
Greer and Lewis as starting corner and PRob and White could be servicable Nickels. Greer is aging however and could be a cap casualty next year. If he's gone we need another starter unless White or PRob really step up this year.
At safety we have Harper manning the box but he could be a cap casualty next year. At FS we have Jenkins who still hasn't done shite outside the occasional "why can't he do that all the time" play and a servicable with potential IAQ.
Safety is clearly our weakest defensive position and corner becomes a concern next year if Greer is gone.
On LT, you hit the nail on the head. Bushrod was not all world and that was an issue.
With J. Brown Brees never had more than 18 sacks. With Bushrod he's never had less than 20 and there's no denying much more pressure came from that side and it caused Brees to get Happy Feet and throw stupid picks(some of which lead to tds which kills a team).
Our D will be middle of the pack just from the 3-4 switch and scheme change to man(just like it was under Williams; little high on yards but middle on points per game which is all that matters for a D).