The New Orleans Saints waisted no time improving their defense by signing three defensive tackles one week after an embarrassing loss to the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks. Marshawn Lynch only rushed for 737 yards with a 3.6 yard average the entire regular season, but turned into Superman with horns against the Saints in the Wild Card game. Need I mention that he totaled 131 yards with a 6.9 yard per carry average in that game? No let's not mention that.
Shortly after signing the three defensive tackles, it was revealed that Shaun Rogers was released by the Cleveland Browns, and that he was visiting with teams around the league. He eventually landed in New Orleans with a one-year deal. At 6'4", 350 pounds he provides the Saints with a much-needed rump in the middle, which should pull the horns off Lynch if they meet again. But that's for another day.
Although Rogers provides us with an upgrade at defensive tackle, there are questions as to whether or not he will be able to remain healthy for the entire season. It's also no secret that he's beginning to show signs of aging and is by no means a long-term solution. So what should the Black and Gold do?
Some have stated that they should take his successor in the draft and that's not a bad idea. However, we do not have a fourth-, fifth- or sixth-round pick in this year's draft to make up for an early defensive tackle selection. They could also use upgrades at defensive end (Alex Brown is aging and only acquired two sacks last year) and Linebacker. So how do you solve this problem? Simply dial the 619 area code. What do I mean by this?
Residing in the beautiful area code of 619 is sunny San Diego California. And who should we be dialing for in this area code? None other than one, Mr. Cam Thomas, formerly of the North Carolina Tar Heels. Forgotten about him already? Not me. He was never a production monster at NC but could often be seen taking on two blockers at once.
Could this be why Marvin Austin and Robert Quinn had such productive careers? Possibly so. I've never been a huge fan of Austin, but Quinn is another story. Quinn brings a very good swim move and great athleticism with him to the next level. Austin, however, I'm not quite sold on. Too bad there isn't a 2010 performance to go by, but I suspect Austin might have struggled without Thomas next to him taking double teams.
Now back to Cam Thomas. I remember watching the Senior Bowl and wondering who this kid was. I then began to follow everything he did and I was not let down once. I remember watching his footwork at the NFL Scouting Combine and was shocked at what I saw. At 6'3", 325 pounds I expected to see someone that was a bit clumsy at times. That's not what I saw at all.
He was extremely nimble and dare I say, like a ballerina. God, I hope he doesn't see this. I have no idea why he lasted until the fifth round of the draft. It's mind boggling to me.
He only played in five games last year in a very limited role, but accumulated seven tackles and two sacks. I think it's time the Saints make a call and see what the price would be for the big fellow before San Diego realizes what they have.
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