Between the 2014 NFL Draft and the free agent market, the New Orleans Saints hitched on a number of pass rushing talents to their roster, which is something the team had planned on accomplishing this offseason. One new face looking to make his presence felt at training camp is the outside linebacker/defensive end hybrid, Chidera Uzo-Diribe.
A product of the University of Colorado at Boulder, the California native appeared in 49 games and totaled 118 tackles (32 for loss), 20 sacks, 10 forced fumbles and six passes defended during his four years with the Buffaloes. He had an outstanding year as a senior, posting 46 tackles (11 for loss), four sacks and five forced fumbles (second in the nation).
At 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, Uzo-Diribe offers intriguing upside as a pass rusher with excellent size and athleticism. He played a majority of his snaps at defensive end and is quite explosive out of the three-point stance. However, Saints’ defensive coordinator Rob Ryan loves to move guys around, and it looks like that’s what he’ll be doing with his new toy.
Between Uzo-Diribe’s potential and the experience of the Saints’ coaching staff, it would be no surprise if he made the team, but a near-perfect performance at training camp will need to happen. With Junior Galette, Victor Butler, Parys Haralson and fifth-round pick Ronald Powell guaranteed spots on the 53-man roster, Uzo-Diribe will have his work cut out for him.
The black and gold are loaded with outside linebackers heading into training camp. His main competition will be Rufus Johson, Keyunta Dawson, Kasim Edebali, Kyle Knox and Cheta Ozougwu. Keep an eye on Uzo-Diribe; he will be in the middle of what is likely going be the biggest positional battle on the team this summer. It will be interesting to see what Sean Payton and company have in store for the young prospect.