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2017 New Orleans Saints Training Camp Countdown No. 18 - new linebackers

Posted Jul 8, 2017

Klein and Te’o are No. 18 on our countdown to 2017 Saints Training Camp presented by Verizon.

Having the 27th ranked defense last season, the New Orleans Saints needed to add depth to the defensive roster for 2017. Giving up the sixth most yards a game and second most points a game, Coach Payton and General Manager Mickey Loomis knew that making changes was necessary for the defense to improve.

Although the Saints did not make any splashy free agent signings, they added depth by signing two quality players in linebackers A.J. Klein and Manti Te’o. Both were drafted in 2013, Te’o by the Chargers and Klein by the Panthers.

Klein, in his fifth season out of Iowa State, has played in 60 games and has recorded 146 combined tackles and five forced fumbles. Te’o, also in his fifth season has had a bit more trouble staying on the field. The former standout player at Notre Dame has played in 38 games but has recorded 222 combined tackles and nine passes defensed.

Payton spoke highly of Klein as he said “he was someone that you could tell had really good command of what he was doing.”

“He has good versatility … has good leadership traits, and I think he is smart.”

Te’o told the media after an OTA practice, “As long as I stay healthy, I’ll be able to do what I need to do to help this team win.”

Top 25 reasons to get excited about Saints training camp presented by Verizon:

No. 25 - QB Challenges

No. 24 - Sheldon Rankins

No. 23 - Speed of Ted Ginn Jr.

No. 22 - Changes on special teams

No. 21 - Undrafted free agents

No. 20 - Return of Rafael Bush

No. 19 - Zach Strief