With the New Orleans Saints switching to a 3-4 defense, the team will need a defensive tackle to anchor the defense. The Saints were planning on using Akiem Hicks at defensive tackle, but they also drafted John Jenkins in the third round of the 2013 NFL draft. Both players seem capable of playing the nose tackle in the 3-4 defense, but both are inexperienced in playing that position at the professional level.
In order to add some depth, the Saints added defensive tackle Isaako Aaitui.
Aaitui spent some time last season with the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets, and has only every played in the preseason with four tackles and a sack. He will likely compete for a backup spot at defensive tackle, but having an extra player for the position will be valuable to the Saints.
Aaitui has good size at 6-foot-4, 315 pounds and will be able to provide the team with some depth on the defensive line. Hicks will likely be the starting defensive tackle, but there was talk of using him as a defensive end as well. Even though he will only be a rookie, Jenkins could see some time at defensive tackle.
The nose tackle position is arguably the most important position in the 3-4 defense and one of the most demanding. I don’t think it would be out of the question for the Saints to implement a rotation at nose tackle that features Hicks, Jenkins, and Aaitui. With a good training camp and preseason Aaitui could find himself earning some playing time during the regular season.
However, only time will tell if Aaitui even makes the 53-man roster, but his addition gives the Saints some good depth at defensive tackle.