New Orleans Saints Rumors: John Abraham, Mike Jenkins Pursued as Tyrann Mathieu Top Draft Option, Rob Ryan Makes Defense Focus

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Apr 08, 2013 12:15 PM EDT
Dallas Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins (R) intercepts a pass.(Photo : Reuters ) "

The New Orleans Saints have been forced to focus on defense this offseason. The team had no other option but to make improvements since it was the defensive unit that ultimately cost them their season. The Saints ranked at the bottom of almost every defensive statistic in 2012. With a new coordinator in Rob Ryan, the team is beginning to piece together a new looking unit that could include the likes of John Abraham and Mike Jenkins, along with new draft targets.

John Abraham has been sitting on the free agent market ever since the Atlanta Falcons decided not to re-sign him back in March. Many teams have shown interest, however the market is not strong for veterans and no one has yet to offer Abraham a formal contract. The pass rusher is in competition with fellow veteran Dwight Freeney for team's attention, but Abraham's familiarity with the NFC makes him an easy target for the Saints. The team recorded only 30 sacks last season, ranking them tied for 25th in the league. Abraham is a proven pass rusher and could offer a new edge for the Saints. The Patriots have also hosted him for a visit, but nothing ever came of it.

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The Saints are also looking towards the secondary for improvements. They attempted to sign Nnamdi Asomugha, but lost out to the San Francisco 49ers. Jenkins has battled with injuries over the last few seasons, but recorded five interceptions in 2009, earning him a trip to the Pro Bowl. With a shortage of decent quarterbacks in the free agent market, Jenkins may be the best option for the Saints. He has familiarity with a 3-4 defense that Ryan intends on installing in New Orleans. The Saints seem desperate to add a cornerback and they could get Jenkins for pretty cheap. With his injuries, he will not garner a long-term contract, but would only be a short-term solution to the position.

The upcoming NFL is another area where the Saints will continue to focus on defense. They are one of the top team's interested in drafting Tyrann Mathieu. While considered to be a risky pick, a return to the state where Mathieu earned most of success could be what gets him back on the right track. The former-LSU cornerback has been working towards a comeback after being dismissed from the team for failed drug tests. He impressed scouts at the combine and his Pro Day. If focused, he could be a game-changer for the Saints defense in 2013.

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