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blueslover
New Orleans Saints Fan
soon to be south of zero
Member since Sep 2007
20774 posts

Defense Revamp: Free Agent LBs


With the colossal change, who might be of interest on the free agent market for our new 3-4 team?

Anthony Spencer, Dallas- Listing him so everyone can X him off their hope list. He did excel to a new level in the 3-4 but will definitely be far beyond the Saints budget IMO.

Paul Kruger, Baltimore- Graded as the #6 3-4 OLB by PFF. Would be golden but likely would be franchised (as long as a Flacco deal gets done) before letting him hit the market

Shaun Phillips, San Diego- now HERE is a real potential signee. I liked him even transitioning to a 4-3. He's among the players highest on my list of quality play with little national recognition. At age 32 he won't command a killer long term deal. He's still a player though with 9.5 sacks. Maybe Brees and Sproles can sell him on the SD to NOLA championship move.

Connor Barwin, Houston- numbers fell off in 2012 but he is still a high quality player. Very doubtful the Texans let him get out of town. So though good, not someone I would put on the radar.

Manny Lawson, Cincy- he has never panned out to his 1st Rd draft spot but he isn't a bum either. Certainly a player that might fit the Saints budget. Don't have a good read on him He's played 3-4 & 4-3. Anyone?

Dannell Ellerbe, Blatimore- thought of as the successor to Ray Lewis he is hitting UFA. I'm guessing too spendy. He would be a premier 3-4 ILB on most teams.

Larry Foote, Pittsburgh- missed that he was still playing. Getting old at the end of the line. High chance of retiring.

Tavares Gooden, San Francisco- the former Raven is a solid backup and deluxe special team player. At 28 he could still have upside. He could be a NOLA fit for affordability and him having the chance to compete for starter reps.

Larry Grant, San Francisco- they were able to keep him as an RFA this year. As an UFA he might get more attention. Another backup guy that could be a starting ILB on many teams (like the Saints). Filled in nicely when Willis was injured. Might come in budget range with upside at age 27.

Bradie James- getting old (32) but showed he still has some game left with the Texans. He couldn't cost much at all if wanted. The Monroe native might like his ring chances back home.

Phillips or Gooden look like the best fits outside. I like Grant for inside. James if he has enough gas left.







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Suntiger
USA Fan
BR or somewhere else
Member since Feb 2007
20537 posts

re: Defense Revamp: Free Agent LBs


I'm assuming Lofton and Vilma can play LBer in a 3-4. I'm very interested to see what Vilma does considering he wanted out of New York due to them switching to a 3-4.


I don't think we will be able to get Spencer, Ellerbe or Barwin.

I like James and Grant at the other MLBer spot if Vilma can't/won't play that position.


I think for the 3-4 to be most effective, you need a true pass rusher like Demarcus Ware, J.J. Watts, Aldon Smith or Terrel Suggs. I don't see that guy in your list and think we may have to move up to draft him.


Also, does this switch spell the end for Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma? And does it change your mind on Ellis? Could he play NT?






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higgsBoson
New Orleans Saints Fan
Democratic Party
Member since Jan 2012
606 posts

re: Defense Revamp: Free Agent LBs


Gallette-Lofton-Hawthorne-Wilson.
Those should be our LBers. We need to focus on NT, FS, and maybe a DE






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SaintLSUnAtl
New Orleans Saints Fan
Majula
Member since Jan 2007
19048 posts
 Online 

re: Defense Revamp: Free Agent LBs


quote:

And does it change your mind on Ellis? Could he play NT?


No and no






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sunnydaze
New Orleans Saints Fan
over the hills
Member since Jan 2010
14603 posts
 Online 

re: Defense Revamp: Free Agent LBs


quote:

We need to focus on the entire defense






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blueslover
New Orleans Saints Fan
soon to be south of zero
Member since Sep 2007
20774 posts

re: Defense Revamp: Free Agent LBs


quote:

I think for the 3-4 to be most effective, you need a true pass rusher


THE necessary cog even more than we have missed it in the 4-3. Those guys are always coveted.

Look at Shaun Phillips. First, he could be affordable. I like a vet 3-4 OLB to mix with Tez/Juneyah. Phillips games started and sack totals-

0 4
3 7
14 11.5
15 8.5
16 7.5
16 7
16 11
12 3.5
16 9.5









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GynoSandberg
UConn Fan
Member since Jan 2006
32333 posts
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re: Defense Revamp: Free Agent LBs


quote:

Gallette-Lofton-Hawthorne-Wilson.









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blueslover
New Orleans Saints Fan
soon to be south of zero
Member since Sep 2007
20774 posts

re: Defense Revamp: Free Agent LBs


quote:

Also, does this switch spell the end for Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma? And does it change your mind on Ellis? Could he play NT?


Smith and Vilma for the cap in a 4-3. In a 3-4 even more so gone

Ellis?? After a dude takes $33mil from me like that I don't wanna see him anymore

We have some warm bodies for NT even if not THE answer. An experienced 3-4 OLB is a priority IMO. Get one of those then you can draft the best player available at either NT or OLB



This post was edited on 1/25 at 10:13 am


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Brettesaurus Rex
New Orleans Saints Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Dec 2009
21072 posts

re: Defense Revamp: Free Agent LBs


Obviously depending on who stays or who goes, I see the lineup about like this

Wilson/Galette Lofton
Hawthorne Casillas/Chamberlain/Shanle/Vilma

If anything I think that big time rush OLB needs to be a priority, but I see that as more of a draft possibility



This post was edited on 1/25 at 10:53 am


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Hoodoo Man
LSU Fan
Sunshine Pumping most days.
Member since Oct 2011
16580 posts

re: Defense Revamp: Free Agent LBs


quote:

Wilson/Galette Lofton Hawthorne Casillas/Chamberlain/Shanle/Vilma








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Midget Death Squad
Notre Dame Fan
3 docks down from the bait shop
Member since Oct 2008
4155 posts

re: Defense Revamp: Free Agent LBs


The misconception is that the rush OLB is the most important position for a 3-4. This isn't true. NT is THE critical position, because he dictates the LOS and creates all the opportunities for the LB's.

As it stands, we don't have this guy. Maybe there's someone on our roster that fits this, but highly doubtful.

Here's how I see it. We target Casey Hampton and draft a groomer for the position. Hampton is old and not the same player, but he's good enough to make it work. Tez and Juniah I think will actually thrive in a 3-4, so I'm not worried about OLB. I see Jordan and Hicks working well at DE. The other issues are at our 2nd ILB and corners. Remember, most 3-4 schemes are actually zones, and we all know our CB's haven't done well in those coverages.

I list our priorities as follows:

NT
CB
ILB
S
OLB


So who has a list of NT free agents and draft prospects?






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225rumpshaker
LSU Fan
Texas
Member since Sep 2006
2933 posts

re: Defense Revamp: Free Agent LBs


quote:

Connor Barwin
Unless he plays at a low rate he will be gone.
quote:

Bradie James- getting old (32) but showed he still has some game left with the Texans
That is just false he wasn't good this year for the Texans.

Thats my only input as I live in Houston and hear them talk about the Texans everyday. So excited for the Saints move to a 3-4






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Peazey
New Orleans Saints Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Apr 2012
5722 posts
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re: Defense Revamp: Free Agent LBs


I also like phillips as a free agent olb. Per the sack totals that you listed he has been a very productive, under the radar type player in a 3-4.

Regardless to if we get him or not, I think that the Saints should target BPA of either NT or OLB in the first round. There should be several options, even if we don't move up in the draft.

I wonder how successful the players we currently have in house could be at NT. Bunkley and Hicks seem to be the two best candidates.






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blueslover
New Orleans Saints Fan
soon to be south of zero
Member since Sep 2007
20774 posts

re: Defense Revamp: Free Agent LBs


Phillips still looks like a great match- 3-4 veteran, still has some gas, not likely to be a cap busting contract

Here's another to the radar-

UFA Victor Butler, Dallas
He has been in the league for 4 years, but only started two games. However, in his limited time on the field, he has been quite the productive linebacker, with 4 forced fumbles and 11 sacks. He only played in 299 snaps this year for Dallas, but earned the 7th overall ranking for outside linebackers from PFF (7.2)

rotoworld-

ESPN Dallas says it's time for the Cowboys to let impending free agent OLB Victor Butler "test the market."
Butler, just last summer, was once "penciled in" as Anthony Spencer's heir apparent at outside linebacker with the Cowboys. Now, with a switch to a 4-3 defense under Monte Kiffin, Butler doesn't have a spot. He's never showed consistency when it comes to rushing the passer, but Butler also hasn't been able to get on the field behind Spencer and DeMarcus Ware. He should draw significant interest if he indeed gets to test the free-agent waters.




This post was edited on 2/6 at 11:31 am


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windshieldman
New Orleans Saints Fan
Member since Nov 2012
1062 posts

re: Defense Revamp: Free Agent LBs


I really think Hawthorne is gonna be alot better at ILB than most think. Dude is a straight up thumper. He was completely out of position at SLB in a 4-3. He did get his azz ran over by D. Murray though





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blueslover
New Orleans Saints Fan
soon to be south of zero
Member since Sep 2007
20774 posts

re: Defense Revamp: Free Agent LBs


I see Lofton/Hawthorne as a solid inside combo. Enough bucks committed to'em that there shouldn't be any free agent or early draft currency expended there. Humber and another warm body to fill the ILB spots





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monroesaintsfan
LSU Fan
monroe
Member since Feb 2010
302 posts

re: Defense Revamp: Free Agent LBs


Hello everyone. First post here but I've lurked in the background for a couple of years.

I just wonder if Broughton were to trim back down to his college weight, when he was running 4.55 40's, if he might not be viable as a situational rush olb.






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yundiesel
LSU Fan
westbank
Member since Dec 2009
262 posts

re: Defense Revamp: Free Agent LBs


If Rob Ryan gets the gig, Victor Butler should be the guy. Young,cheap, knows the system. I watched Butler at Oregon State, dude can rush the passer, I was hoping we drafted a few years ago. He just needs the opportunity.





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DownHome
New Orleans Saints Fan
Below the Equator
Member since Jan 2012
553 posts

re: Defense Revamp: Free Agent LBs


As much as I hate to say it, next years LB's are probaly already on the team due to cap restrictions. I like anybody else would love to see some new blood brought in, but just don't see it happening with more important needs.

If I had a choice, these are the one's I would want.

Paul Kruger, Larry Grant,
Dannell Ellerbe

Due to our cap issues just don't see this happening. Maybe ole Mick can work something out so we will see. I expect this is what out starting LB's set will look like with maybe a rookie or two.

Gallette-Lofton-Hawthorne-Wilson

or

Hawthorne-Vilma-Lofton-Wilson, with Gallette subbing.

The reality of it is, we can want in one hand or shite in the other, it is what it is.






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blueslover
New Orleans Saints Fan
soon to be south of zero
Member since Sep 2007
20774 posts

re: Defense Revamp: Free Agent LBs


Larry Grant, Dannell Ellerbe- good guys that are ready for bigger roles but don't see going after any ILBs with Lofton & Hawthorne set.

I came up with one idea of how we could sign one impact player.

Broughton has talent to stick around. How they use him will be interesting to see. I could see ILB, OLB, or DE.






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