SAINTS TOP 25 SERIES
Borrowing the popular idea from the NFL Network, our Saints coverage team came up with our ranking of the top 25 players on the Saints’ roster heading into the 2012 season. The idea is to make these rankings as current as possible – essentially deciding who would be the best players on the field if they lined up for a game today. Therefore, past accomplishments and potential are both factored in.
Obviously that led to some tough decisions, and obviously that will lead to plenty of second guessing. And we’d love to hear it. Feel free to vote on the rankings and add your comments below as we unveil the list daily leading up to the start of training camp.
NO. 16 DT BRODRICK BUNKLEY
Age: 28. Years: 7. Ht., Wt. 6-2, 306.
SAINTS COLUMNIST MIKE TRIPLETT’S TAKE: The Saints filled a glaring defensive need this year by signing Bunkley, who was arguably the best run-stuffing tackle available in free agency. From early indications, Bunkley looks like he’ll make a bigger impact than last year’s veteran defensive tackles Aubrayo Franklin and Shaun Rogers. But time will tell, since big things were also expected from both of those guys.
New Orleans Saints top 25 countdown
Bunkley is unique because he is smaller and more athletic than most run-stuffing tackles in the NFL. But teammates and coaches have raved about how strong he is and how hard he works. Bunkley has finally hit his stride after a slow start to his career. He spent his first five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles after being drafted in the first round in 2006, but he never lived up to expectations there. Then, after being traded to the Denver Broncos last summer, he excelled.
Bunkley’s stats didn’t jump off the page since he plays a dirty-work position. He had 43 tackles, zero sacks and zero forced fumbles in the regular season, then six tackles, a sack and a forced fumble in the playoffs. But he was widely praised for helping to revitalize the Broncos’ defense and taking on blockers to free up dynamic pass rushers like Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil.
SAINTS G JAHRI EVANS’ TAKE:
“He may not be that big load or a 350-pound, 340-pound guy. But he’s strong, though. He packs the power and he sinks those hips and he plays low. … Watching him on film and playing against him when he was in Philly, I remember him holding down the middle, taking on double teams well. And in Denver, I think he held down that middle for them very well. So I think that’s’ gonna benefit him, and it’s gonna benefit all the pass rushers we have on our team.”
What’s your take on Bunkley’s ranking? Too high? Too low? Just right? Give us your take in the comment stream below.