New Orleans Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton is arguably the best defensive player on the team, and he will be leading the team’s defensive resurgence. After giving up an NFL record of 7,042 yards, the Saints are looking to vastly improve with Lofton and new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan leading the charge. As the Saints transition to a 3-4 defense, Lofton is slated to be one of the starting inside linebackers, and he really will not have much competition in training camp.
Last season, Lofton led the Saints in tackles with 123 and this season the Oklahoma product should be in that same range. Furthermore, Lofton is a consistent force for the Saints defense and one of the few bright spots last season. This year, Lofton will be asked to take on more of a leadership role as he will be the anchor of a hopefully improved defense.
While Lofton will spend most of his time on the inside of the defensive line, there is a possibility that he will line up as an outside linebacker. During training camp so far, Lofton has primarily been lining up as an inside linebacker. However, he did say that he has been cross training as an outside linebacker. It is evident that Ryan likes to use his players’ versatility and Lofton will be more than capable of playing on the outside if need be. Lofton is very athletic and is a great tackler so it could not hurt using him as an outside pass-rusher in certain situations.
For the start of the 2013 NFL season, Lofton will be the Saints starting inside linebacker. Despite the shift in defensive scheme, he could have a big year. Lofton will be key to the Saints’ defense this year and if the defense does improve, it will be because of him.