Comparing Khalen Saunders, Nathan Shepherd to the Saints they replace

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Age: 26

Experience: 38 games in 4 years (plus 6 playoff games)

Height: 6 feet 0

Lester: 324 pounds

Relative athletic score: 7.59

2022 Defensive Snaps: 511 (39.5% rush, 58.7% rush), 26.9 snaps per game

PFF Run Defense Grade: 55.8

PFF pass rush grade: 57.2

PFF pass rush success rate (PR productivity): 6.7 (4.0)

Average PFF tackle depth vs. run: 3.1

Contract: Three years, $14.5 million ($4.8 million per year), guarantees to be determined

Saunders played a small role for the Chiefs in his first three years, posting career highs in defensive snaps (511), quarterback pressures (18), tackles (30) and PFF defensive saves (22) last season. He’s a stable player who offers more against the run than against the pass, so it’s odd that Kansas City played him on so many passes last year. The Saints can dictate that better by adding more depth to the line and carefully rotating it on and off the pitch. But Saunders is a big athlete for his size and he should do a lot to help the New Orleans defense win at the line of scrimmage. He makes a lot of hustle plays and has been surprisingly effective at rounding up moving quarterbacks looking to make a play out of the pocket.

Leave a Comment