If you’re not from the Greater New Orleans Region, Junior Galette is probably not your average household name. In fact, before the 2013 NFL season, little was known about the Haitian-born linebacker.
He began his college career at Temple University where he received honorable mention on the Sporting News Freshman All-American team. After playing three years at Temple, he transferred to Stillman College, a Division II school in Tuscaloosa, Ala. There, he was named to the All-SIAC first team as a senior.
Galette was avoided by all teams in the 2010 NFL Draft but soon signed with the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent. By the time the preseason had kicked off, his overconfidence and energetic play made him a fan favorite in the Crescent City. After a colossal performance during the team’s final exhibition game, Galette was added to the 53-man roster for the start of the regular season.
The 6-foot-2 defensive end at the time started in only two games from 2010-12, but his presence was felt almost every time he stepped onto the field. During those first three years, Galette tallied 43 total tackles, 9.5 sacks and a forced fumble. After the bounty scandal in 2012, he started a “no-shave” campaign until the Saints win the Super Bowl in an attempt to boost the city’s confidence in the absence of head coach Sean Payton. The results were nothing great, as the organization went 7-9 and finished third in the NFC South with the one of the worst defensive performances in league history.
Then, in 2013, something extravagant took place — Sean Payton returned and hired Rob Ryan to take over duties as defensive coordinator. Galette was named a starter in the new and improved 3-4 scheme that coach Ryan orchestrated in the Big Easy. He shined big and bright in what was arguably a Pro Bowl campaign, totaling 40 tackles and finishing second on the team with 12 sacks (sixth in the NFL) behind Pro-Bowl DE Cam Jordan.
Galette’s “body bags” motto, which refers to the sacks he hands out to opposing quarterbacks, has become quite a popular phrase on Twitter, especially throughout the New Orleans fanbase. The term has faced criticism here and there, but it’s just meant for fun and expresses the confidence and determination he has for himself and the rest of the defense. He’s just an intense human being, and he plays the game with some serious intensity as well.
It seemed like Galette found his comfort zone pretty quickly under Ryan. Now, with an entire year under his belt and training camp just around the corner, the Saints’ pass rusher could take his game to a whole new level. The sack machine is hungrier than ever and looking to eat very soon. With Pro Bowl hopes and Super Bowl dreams, look for Galette to absolutely dominate with the Saints in 2014.