A look at Saints linebacker Dannell Ellerbe throughout the 2016 season.
The more samples Dannell Ellerbe provides, the more evident it becomes why the New Orleans Saints are patient with the eight-year veteran.
Ellerbe is a play-maker – a speedy, outside linebacker who can be trusted to chase down plays, whether that be running backs while he's in pass coverage, quarterbacks while he's pass rushing, or any player other opposing player in possession of the football.
He missed the first six games while recovering from a quadriceps injury, then played nine of the final 10, the most consistently he has played since he started all 15 games he played for Miami in 2013. Not coincidentally, he was the most productive he has been since that season.
Ellerbe finished 2016 with 44 tackles, four sacks (the second-highest single-season total of his career, and tied for third-most on the team) and two passes defensed. The nine games (eight starts) he played represent more than he'd played in the previous two seasons combined (seven total games and five starts, including just six games and four starts for the Saints in '15).
He's exactly what the Saints were looking for when they acquired him in a trade with Miami in 2015. When he's healthy, he's a significant piece of the puzzle defensively.
BEST GAME:This should be best games, because for a four-game stretch against the Broncos, Panthers, Rams and Lions, Ellerbe was the best he has been as a Saint. During that stint he had a sack in each game, along with 21 tackles and a pass defensed.
BEST QUOTE:"I know if I'm healthy, I'm on the field. I'm never coming off the field, and I know I'll be able to help this team." – Ellerbe