The Saints added their veteran pass rusher today as they continue to have a fantastic free agency period.
I’m told OLB Alex Okafor has agreed to terms with the #Saints.
— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) March 14, 2017
Okafor had a so-so season in Arizona last year, mostly due to the fact that he played most of it with a torn bicep. Despite this, he finished with 3.5 sacks playing outside linebacker. He has 13.5 sacks in 4 seasons, with his best year coming in 2014 when he had 8. The thing is, though, I think he was playing out of position in Arizona. The Cardinals play a 3-4 scheme, but Okafor was clearly envisioned as a 4-3 DE coming out of college. In fact, he recorded 12.5 sacks at Texas his final season before being draft. I remember evaluating him as a prospect at the time and thinking he’d be a steal in the draft if the Saints took him. If you read his draft eval on NFL.com coming out of college, it seems to confirm my gut.
So I think Okafor, only 26, is poised for a breakout season finally playing the right position. I believe he can play in Paul Kruger’s place and represent an upgrade. This changes nothing about adding a pass rusher in the draft, preferably Derek Barnett at 11 overall, but it gives the Saints more pass rushing talent and depth. I love this move.