2012 Saints: Junior Galette
Defensive end Junior Galette was an undrafted free agent in 2010, and the Saints picked him up during training camp that season. He became a fan favorite during the preseason and really solidified his place on the 53 man roster.
He did not see much playing time in his first year, but last season Galette began to see the field on a consistent basis.
In 2011, Galette played in every one of the Saints' games, and racked up 4.5 sacks with 18 tackles (10 solo & 8 assisted) in his first full year in the NFL. He was mostly utilized as a third down pass rusher, and did very well in that role.
Galette may in fact be the best pure pass rusher on the team. Will Smith seems to be losing a step, and Cam Jordan showed he is very good at stopping the run, but tallied just one sack.
Galette, on the other hand, seems to get near the opposing QB every time he is on the field.
As far as a typical NFL defensive end goes, he is pretty undersized. Galette stands at 6'2" and 258 pounds, which is relatively small when discussing a professional defensive lineman.
How does he do it then? Galette uses his speed to get by pass blockers, and to the quarterback. This is his greatest strength and a big part as to why he is still with the Saints.
The negative part of Galette's game right now is that he does not do very well against the run.
He has difficulty shedding blockers and making tackles. As a smaller defensive end, it is also tough for Galette to keep containment and push the runners back inside.
That is the ONLY thing keeping Galette from being a starter. We will have to wait and see if his game can change at all with the addition of new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
Coach Spags loves getting pressure from his four down lineman, and I could see Galette really thrive in his system.
Since Spagnuolo expects so much from his D-line, that the Saints will need to have good depth and a solid rotation to keep guys healthy and fresh.
I could see Galette earning more playing time this coming season, but I would highly doubt he can take over a starting role on the team.