Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/14/14
Cowbos_e8ea
Victor Butler The New Orleans Saints have lost outside linebacker and prized free agent Victor Butler to a torn ACL this past week in OTAs. Butler’s loss is a devastating blow to a defense that was awful this past season. Rob Ryan handpicked Butler during free agency to come in and play for the Saints. Butler was expected to bring a pass rushing presence off the edge and already knew Ryan’s system. Butler didn’t get much playing time in Dallas as he was sitting behind Demarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer, two pro bowl caliber linebackers. The silver lining to the injury is that it happened early, giving the Saints enough time to make the necessary adjustments to replace Butler. With Butler out of the mix the two most likely candidates to replace him are Junior Galette and Will Smith. Martez Wilson will most likely have the other linebacker spot locked up. Galette is a young pass rushing specialist who has shown flashes of brilliance. Meanwhile, Smith played defensive end in the 4-3 scheme and is making the conversion to outside linebacker in the 3-4. Both have the ability to rush the passer, but Galette is clearly the more athletic of the two. In addition to Smith and Galette, two under the radar guys to watch out for now that they have an opportunity are Rufus Johnson and Chase Thomas. Rufus Johnson, the seventh round pick out of Tarleton State, is raw, lengthy, and a very good athlete. Johnson was very productive in college albeit at a small school for a very short time. While at Tarleton State, he posted 15.5 sacks in 20 games was named the 2012 Lone Star Defensive Lineman of the Year. Thomas, the undrafted free agent out of Stanford, is not nearly as athletic as Johnson, however has a very high IQ and has experience in the 3-4. At Stanford, he was very productive and decorated, racking up almost 28 sacks in 4 seasons and being named to the 2012 All Pac-12 First Team. Both have the ability, and with Butler down, they will both have a chance to make the roster and maybe even make an impact. Though the loss of Butler is devastating, it is a position with a lot of depth and the Saints should be able to build a formidable rotation of pass rushers. Though there isn’t much out there free agency wise, expect the Saints to possibly bring in a veteran to compete with others for playing time.  
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kentucky remains unbeaten after thrilling win over ND

Alabama DT arrested on domestic violence charges again

John Calipari blasted for postgame interview

WATCH: MJ, Tom Brady play pickup game in Bahamas

WATCH: Wrong national anthem played for El Salvador

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

WATCH: Russell Wilson smashes HR in Rangers BP

John Fox: Jay Cutler will have to earn starting QB job

Report: Shaka Smart, Gregg Marshall candidates for Texas

Kurt Warner is helping to turn around Colin Kaepernick

Bizarre call allows Duke to cover spread against Utah

Saints love TE Josh Hill following Jimmy Graham trade

Sam Dekker's hot shooting sends Wisconsin to Final Four

Jim McElwain complains about Florida roster

Mark Few: I put Coach K up there with John Wooden

WATCH: Enes Kanter embraces boos in return to Utah

Mariners prospect dies from boat accident injuries

T.J. Ford sends heartfelt tweet about Rick Barnes

Bruins coach suits up as backup goalie

Tennessee fans show love for Bruce Pearl on campus rock

Louisville guard turned off phone after clutch NC State win

Steve Spurrier hung out with Kenny Chesney before concert

Winnipeg Jets prospect had a rough night on the ice

Did Dean Smith’s gifts to former players violate NCAA rules?

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

John Fox: Cutler will have to earn job

Texas eyeing Shaka Smart, Gregg Marshall?

WATCH: Brady jumps off cliff in Costa Rica

WATCH: 2 Chainz beats Nique in HORSE

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Notre Dame vs. Kentucky

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Arizona vs. Wisconsin

NFL owners chose cost over game integrity

Be careful how loudly you cheer on Mo'ne Davis' olive branch

James Harden and the collective consciousness

Hottest coaching seats in NBA

Under-the-radar NL MVP candidates

Notre Dame’s coach makes first Elite Eight

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.