With the free agency period opening Tuesday here are five defensive players worth watching as the New Orleans Saints begin assembling their 2013 roster. While the Saints, who are still over the salary cap, are not expected to be major players they will make some moves.
Cornerback Keenan Lewis, Pittsburgh
Playing on a $1.26 million tender last season, Lewis, a New Orleans native who prepped at O.P. Walker, had a breakout season in which he led the NFL in pass breakups. The 6-foot, 200-pound Lewis has good size and speed and is considered one of the top cover cornerbacks on the free agent market.
Why the Saints should sign him: The defense was awful last season against the pass and gave up far too many big plays. Lewis would form a nice trio with cornerbacks Jabari Greer and Patrick Robinson.
What could keep the Saints from signing him: The market for Lewis could be a competitive one, with at least a half-dozen teams vying for his services.
Linebacker Paul Kruger, Baltimore
Before last season Kruger wasn't a household name, but he emerged after the injury to Terrell Suggs to become one of the top pass rushers in this free agent class. Kruger, who has 15½ sacks in his four seasons in Baltimore, had a team-leading nine sacks in 2012. He was even better in the postseason, adding 4½ sacks.
Why the Saints should sign him: Because the Saints are switching from a 4-3 alignment to a 3-4 scheme, they are in desperate need for an outside linebacker capable of rushing the passer. Kruger is it.
New Orleans Saints: five defensive free agents to watch
New Orleans Times-Picayune | Mar 7