Throughout the New Orleans Saints history, the team always has great linebackers that have worn the black and gold uniform. Players such as the late Sam Mills, Pat Swilling, and Vaughan Johnson all made big plays when they played for the Saints.
Now the Saints could have another great linebacker within their ranks in Stephone Anthony. Last week against the Carolina Panthers, Anthony made two huge plays that put the Saints in the lead for a brief moment.
Even though the Saints lost a nail biter against the Panthers, the fans saw a glimpse of what type of player Stephone Anthony is capable of becoming. Anthony’s stats for 2015 so far are 95 tackles, one sack, and an interception return for a touchdown. Those are not NFL Defensive Rookie of Year numbers, but Anthony’s stats will improve significantly as his experience in the National Football League progresses.
Stephone Anthony was a gift sent by the Seattle Seahawks after the Saints traded star tight end Jimmy Graham to Seattle for guard Max Unger and the Seahawks first round pick. The Saints would go on to select Stephone Anthony with the 31st pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. I was very skeptical of this pick because the Saints decided to trade Jimmy Graham to the Seahawks.
Graham was an impact player for the Saints, but he also turned them into a one-dimensional offense as well. So far the Jimmy Graham trade is considered a success, the Seahawks never really figured out a way to utilize him in their passing game. The Saints now have the nucleus to become one of the most dynamic linebacker corps in the National Football League.
Players such as Stephone Anthony, Hau’oli Kikaha, and Dannell Ellerbe can surpass what the Dome Patrol accomplished in New Orleans back in the mid-80s. For those that are old enough to remember, the Dome Patrol defense did not have a quarterback that could deliver in big moments like Drew Brees.
Nothing against Bobby Hebert, but he is in no way is Drew Brees. When Dannell Ellerbe is on the field to go along with fellow linebackers Hau’oli Kikaha and Stephone Anthony, the Saints are an impressive 4-1 this season. Imagine if the entire trio was on the field for the majority of the season? The Saints would probably be in a better position in regards to making the playoffs.
This franchise has not had a top tier linebacker within their ranks since the days of Jonathan Vilma. Stephone Anthony could very well be the guy that can bring some respectability back to the middle linebacker position for the black and gold. With that being said another solid draft class by the Saints front office and this defense will become the type of unit that head coach Sean Payton envisions it of becoming.
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