I caught up with Vance Meek of RaisingZona.com to discuss the Saints’ newest d-line addition, Alex Okafor. Below is what he had to say. Many thanks to him for taking the time, and make sure you check him out on Twitter.
Vance from Raising Zona: Okafor was a starter for most of the two seasons prior to 2016. In those two seasons he had 8 and 2. He was originally a 4th round pick, so he was always a “take a shot” type of talent, but he’s still young, and can be a good situational player.
I do agree that his best position would be as a 4-3 end. He has good size, and was a good run defender coming out. I’m not sold that he’d be a double-digit sack artist regardless, but as an overall player, it’d play to his strengths.
With Chandler Jones and Markus Golden here, and Okafor coming off of two seasons where he put up marginal numbers, most fans are ok with it. They are also in the midst of losing guys like Calais Campbell and Tony Jefferson, so losing a depth guy registers much lower.
I wouldn’t think the injury is a concern going forward. The Saints don’t seem to think so. His biggest issue was just that Jones and Golden were so good, that Okafor didn’t have a spot. He hasn’t had any injuries that seem recurring.
Okafor could be a decent starter, especially in a position that suits him better. He’s probably not going to be a Pro Bowl type, but he could be a solid role player. He might wind up being remembered in Arizona for the mysterious toe injury he suffered just before the 2016 playoffs. He missed the team’s playoff run, and gave no explanation for the injury, and it was listed by the team as a non-football injury. Bruce Arians famously told reporters to go ask Alex when he was questioned about it.