As the beginning of the NFL Free Agency period draws closer, there are several attractive names that the Saints could possibly add to better the team. One name in particular is flying under a lot of radars. Former New England Patriots ILB Brandon Spikes.
Spikes is a run stopping linebacker who can play zone very well. Exactly what Rob Ryan asks of his ILBs. Matching him alongside Curtis Lofton would be crucial, especially with the fact the Saints are dropping veterans left and right. Spikes will turn 27 during the season, he’s young enough to make a big difference for the defense.
The Saints played great defense during the regular season, but when the postseason game against the Seahawks came around they couldn’t stop the run to save their lives. Marshawn Lynch gashed the defense for 145 rushing yards.
Spikes was statistically the best ILB against the run this past season. Although in pass coverage he was more of a liability, but in a Rob Ryan 3-4 scheme he’ll be asked to do more run stopping than zone or man coverage.
Spikes would bring a vocal leader to the defense and a new attitude to the team in general. He’s a fiery player who can lay down the boom on RBs trying to sneak out the backfield. There has been little to no news coming from Spikes’ camp as far as team interested in his services, and that plays to the Saints’ advantage. His market will be less than he expects therefore the Saints will be able to pick him up for cheap. Always a good thing for a cap strapped team.
Look for the Saints to not only look at brining in Spikes, but to bring back guys like LB Parys Haralson, C Brian De La Puente, and veteran OT Zach Strief.