Why the Saints pass rush will thrive in 2022

The Saints pass rush will dominate in 2022

By: Jake Rajala

It was clearly “open season” for the New Orleans Saints pass rush against the mythical Tom Brady in their last battle, as the Saints had four sacks and seven QB hits against TB12. The Saints captain Cameron Jordan, who always carries a chip on his shoulder, ousted two sacks (and a pivotal forced fumble) against Brady – which led him to garner NFC defensive player of the week.

I believe that Jordan, who is also coming off his fifth straight Pro Bowl, will have better help hunting opposing signal-callers in 2022 than last season. The Saints pass rusher Marcus Davenport, aka the profile that Dennis Allen once called the Saints best defensive player, has gifted power and he even earned a whopping 88.8 grade by PFF last season (and that stands above Jordan’s PFF grade: 84.3). The key issue with the former UTSA defender is that he’s missed 11 games in the past two seasons combined.

There are two reasons that should make Saints fans more optimistic about the player that Mickey Loomis dealt two first-round picks to acquire. For 1. Davenport has climbed the ladder in overall talent in each of his past four seasons. I can’t guarantee that Davenport won’t miss two or five games, but I foresee him continuing to improve his pass rush abilities in his fifth season. The second reason that I like Davenport’s chances of having a monster 2022 season is that he is entering a contract year. He will really leave everything out on the field (which may include playing through minor injuries) in 2022, so he can cash in during free agency in the 2023 off-season.

The Saints quietly have a third former first-round pick DE in Payton Turner. The NFL world didn’t get a proper taste from the 6’6, 270 lb DE – due to him only playing in five games (and recording one sack) in 2021. Nonetheless, I really believe a healthy Turner will take a big jump from last season and be one of the biggest x-factors on the team. Nick Underhill of New Orleans. Football expressed on Twitter that Turner shined in yesterday’s practice & Katherine Terrell (and ESPN Saints reporter) stated on the bird app that Turner had several good reps yesterday. She also stated that Turner is playing in the 280s. Turner (who can beat out Davenport for the next role for Thor) has also been in tamed fights with 2022 first-round pick Trevor Penning. He has more experience, size, and fire this off-season, to say the least.

The Saints aren’t only time traveling to bring back their two, behemoth edge rushers, but they will also witness the underrated & healthy Tanoh Kpassagnon wreak havoc in 2022. The former Kansas City Chiefs edge rusher was a part of the Saints walking dead squad last season – as he missed nine games. Regardless of his injury-riddled 2021 campaign, he registered four sacks and eight QB hits in eight contests – which matched his 16-game best sack total from the 2019 season. It would be an understatement to say that he’s one of the best fourth-string defensive ends in the NFL.

New Orleans Saints defensive end outlook right now

Saints defensive end outlook in 2022

By: Jake Rajala

The New Orleans Saints have a loaded defensive line led by the annual Pro Bowler Cam Jordan. The former 2011 first-round pick for the Saints is coming off a 12.5 sack season – as he was also the NFC Defensive Player of The Week in Week 15 and Week 17 a season ago. Jordan, who will certainly miss Matt Ryan in an Atlanta Falcons uniform, should have plenty of gas in the tank for a prominent 2022 season. Nonetheless, it’s pivotal that his younger teammates on the edge can take positive strides soon – as the 32-year-old DE can’t wreak havoc forever.

It’s pivotal that Marcus Davenport, who was called the team’s best defender by Dennis Allen early in the 2021 season, can stay healthy and oust a Pro Bowl-caliber season. Ian Wharton of Bleacher Report pegged Davenport as one of his five breakout players in 2022. Although, it may be a risk for DA to prioritize Davenport – who is a 2023 FA – as he has a long track record of missing ball games (17 missed games in the past four seasons).

With Jordan and Davenport’s long-term outlook a bit of a question mark, it’s very important that the Saints 2021 first-round pick Payton Turner steps up to the plate. Turner was a disappointment last season (1 sack, 3 QB hits), in 5 games to say the least. He has unique power, but he needs to learn from Cam how to improve his pass-rush moves and not learn from Davenport how to stay healthy in year two.

If the Saints can have their best defensive ends stay away from the injury report, they could honestly have a similar three-headed pass-rushing trio as their 2020 unit (Cam, Marcus, and Trey Hendrickson). Outside of the Saints top-three behemoths on the edge, they also have Tanoh Kpassagnon (who quietly had 4 sacks in 8 games in 2021), Carl Granderson (8 sacks in the past two seasons combined), and Taco Charlton (2017 first-round pick). It could be said that the Saints arguably have the most well-rounded DE unit in the league.

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