With their 2nd pick in the first round the New Orleans Saints decided to find Curtis Lofton’s replacement in Stephone Anthony. The first inside linebacker taken in this year’s draft will slip right into the starting middle linebacker position in Rob Ryan’s 4-3 defense. Curtis Lofton capitalized while ruling the middle by averaging over 130 tackles the last three years and Anthony is twice the athlete. It didn’t take but the second day of camp for Sean Peyton and Ryan to decide Antony was perfect for the middle of the defense. He will be the first rookie starting linebacker for the Saints since 2004 when 2nd round pick Courtney Watson got his shot.
Anthony starred at the combine running a 4.53 40 yard dash, coming in at only .03 seconds behind leader and Clemson teammate Vic Beasley. With his size, at 6’3″ 234 pounds, Anthony will have no problem going step for step with top TE’s Jimmy Graham (4.56 seconds) and Rob Gronkowski (4.68 seconds). He also came in .03 seconds behind Ben Heeney in the 20 yard shuttle at 4.03 seconds showing he has the speed to cover the flats with ease.
In starting 35 games for Clemson, Anthony was always in the backfield with 34.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and 9.5 sacks. He also led his team in tackles the past two years with 131 his Junior season and 90 his senior year. He was a permanent co-captain for the Tigers and will take that leadership to the Saints as this year’s defensive play caller. When asked about that task Anthony loved the opportunity and said it gave him an advantage with a few more seconds to process the play.
New Orleans needed a culture change for their defense who ranked 28th last year. Whether you are drafting in a startup league or just a rookie free agent draft, shouldn’t you trust Anthony with a pick when the Saints are giving him the reigns to their actual defense? Coming off the board as 5.03 in 12 team IDP leagues he will sometimes go undrafted. So if you are scouring the waiver wire after your draft give Anthony a look and you will surely be rewarded.