The Saints are visiting with former Cowboys’ OLB Victor Butler today. And although Saints’ fans are waiting to see a free agency splash regarding Nnamdi Asomugha, the Saints’ primary target has actually been Butler throughout the free agency process. According to beat writer Larry Holder, the interest is mutual.
Butler visited the Steelers last week but left without signing a contract. Now he visits another team in need of pass rushers. Butler, 26, has experience in the 3-4 defense, playing in the front his entire career. He is an interesting prospect because he played under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan for the last two seasons in Dallas.
Butler, a former fourth round pick, has always been a very effective player when he’s on the field. However, he has only received limited snaps throughout his career, as he’s always been overshadowed by stars Demarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer.
Butler has played 533 total snaps in the past two seasons as a reserve and third down pass rushing specialist. During those snaps, Butler has had 6 sacks and was credited for 18 QB hurries. If you want an idea how that would project to a full season, double the numbers (533 snaps is about half a regular starter’s snaps for one season). He has also graded positively as a run defender the past two seasons, but he’s mainly a pass rusher, as he was also rarely asked to drop into coverage by Rob Ryan.
In sum, Ryan knows and has coached this guy, sees his potential, and wants him on the squad. I think and hope he’ll be a Saint before the weekend.
Butler would likely start over Martez Wilson at OLB with Junior Galette on the other side. Wilson and Butler would probably split snaps depending on situations. This would be ideal because neither has shown they can be effective as an every-down player, but both have showed promise in reduced roles.
More importantly, it would be one less need the Saints have to focus on in the first two days of the draft. Brees’ blind side and safety need to be addressed more.
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