Predicting the Saints roster 2018: Defensive tackles – (Yardbarker)
We’re still roughly six weeks away from training camp, but it’s not too early to take a stab at predicting the defensive tackles on the Saints 53-man roster in 2018.
With roughly six weeks to go until training camp, it’s really way too early to be making a stab at predicting the Saints 53-man roster. But the defensive tackles group is about as predictable as it gets. The team will keep four interior linemen for the regular season and the top three are already known.
Sheldon Rankins, David Onyemata and Tyeler Davison are your starters. Well, only two will be on the field at a time but the rotation will be heavy. Sheldon Rankins has been one of the most talked about Saints in the offseason. He has been outspoken about being ready to assume a leadership role with the team in 2018. Personally, I think it would be wise to focus on his own game this early in his career.
Nonetheless, big things are expected from the former first round pick going into his third season in the NFL. He played lights out in an injury-shortened rookie year but that was alongside Nick Fairley. He needs to show he can stand on his own in 2018.
Hot on his heels for the role of best interior lineman is David Onyemata who came on strong at the end of 2017. Also going into his third year, Onyemata is showing that he’s catching on quickly and is a brute force in the middle of the line.
Tyeler Davison is dependable but you can’t say much more about him. He’s a solid rotational piece but the Saints could stand to get a lot more out of him or upgrade his spot.
The Saints couldn’t reel in Ndamukong Suh or Muhammad Wilkerson in free agency. And they didn’t address the interior of the defensive line through seven rounds of the draft. They did, however, bring in a couple of interesting prospects as undrafted rookie free agents and one notable other free agent acquisition.
Former Oregon Duck Henry Mondeaux and South Carolina Gamecock Taylor Stallworth are the underdogs. They’re the rookie free agents. We’ve heard little about either through OTAs and minicamp so they’ll have to really shine to have a shot.
The most likely fourth piece for the defensive interior is former New York Giant Jay Bromley. Bromley has been a depth chart guy for the Giants over the last four seasons coming out of Syracuse. But his experience will give him the upper hand over anybody else for a roster spot.
Also on the current roster are Devaroe Lawrence and John Hughes. Hughes saw some limited action with the Saints last year and Lawrence was on the practice squad.
Ultimately, your four defensive tackles going into the regular season will be Rankins, Onyemata, Davison and Bromley. That is unless an injury pops up prior to the season opener. John Hughes will be on speed dial and Taylor Stallworth will likely be on the practice squad.
The depth is there with this unit. They just need to step it up over what they did in 2017. And Sheldon Rankins needs to show why he should be a leader and show up looking like a first round pick.
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