In 2021, New Orleans’ defense was near-elite, almost taking the team to the playoffs despite offensive shortcomings.

Sean Payton’s teams were noted for their offensive prowess throughout most of his 16-year tenure as head coach of the New Orleans Saints. The Saints, led by record-setting quarterback Drew Brees, instilled dread in NFL defenders.

The Saints ranked among the league’s best run defenses for the fourth consecutive year. They limited 12 of their 17 opponents to less than 100 yards rushing and did not allow a single 100-yard rusher.

List of 5 of the New Orleans Saints Best Defensive Players 2021

1. Marcus Davenport

A concussion, a toe injury, and elbow issues limited Marcus Davenport to just 11 games in the 2020 season. Davenport had a total of 21 tackles, 12 of which were solo, and two interceptions deflected. With eight quarterback hits and 1.5 sacks, the defensive end helped the Saints beat the Carolina Panthers in the Week 5 clash.

2. Carl Granderson

In just 23 snaps against the Buccaneers in 2020, Granderson recorded a significant sack, forced a turnover, and added two pressures to his repertoire. In spite of Cameron Jordan, Marcus Davenport, and Trey Hendrickson, Granderson was able to get some playing time as a special-teams pass rusher.

3. Cameron Jordan

In 2020, Cameron Jordan started every game and racked up 52 tackles, 16 quarterback hits, and 7.5 sacks in his time on the field. Despite his stature, the 6-foot-4, 287-pound linebacker led another outstanding unit that finished third overall and fourth in the nation in rushing defense.

In November, Jordan was named the NFC Player of the Month after being selected to his sixth Pro Bowl. Rickey Jackson holds the team record for sacks with 94.5, while Jordan is second with 94.5. (115.0 sacks).

4. Tanoh Kpassagnon

These last four seasons, Kpassagnon has become an integral part of the Chiefs pass rush. To go along with his 28 tackles (20 solos), one sack and three passes defensed during the regular season and three starts in the postseason, the Kalamazoo, Michigan, native finished the season with five tackles (one solo), one sack, and one pass defense during the Chiefs’ march to Super Bowl LV.

5. Christian Ringo

For Christian Ringo, training camp is an opportunity to make an impact. When Ringo signed with the Saints in 2020, he was a part of their practice squad. The Green Bay Packers drafted him in the sixth round (210th overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft.


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