Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 6/13/13
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.  

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Hayward could return in March in best-case scenario

Report: MRI on Draymond Green’s knee come back negative

Teddy Bridgewater believes he will ‘definitely’ play in 2017

Mark Cuban tried to pitch NBA on getting rid of draft

Tom Brady praises Matt Ryan ahead of Super Bowl LI rematch

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jameis Winston does not rule out sitting in Week 7

Steelers’ Mike Mitchell fined, not suspended, for dirty hit

Packers’ Brett Hundley: ‘I want to be a Hall of Famer’

Report: Elliott not interested in settlement, wants to clear name

Nets’ Jeremy Lin out for season with ruptured patella tendon

‘The Simpsons’ to air ‘comedic’ documentary for ‘Homer at the Bat’

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Blackhawks get extra depth on defense with newbies Rutta and Forsling

The 'Old faces in new places' quiz

Nikola Jokic: A throwback superstar for the modern era

25 questions heading into the 2017-18 NBA season

The 'Sure do hope you have a backup plan in place' quiz

Saints 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 Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Blackhawks get extra depth on defense with Rutta and Forsling

The 'Old faces in new places' quiz

25 questions heading into the 2017-18 NBA season

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker