Photos of new Saints defensive end Alex Okafor.
ALEX OKAFOR - DEHEIGHT: 6-4
JOINED SAINTS: UFA-17 (ARZ)
NFL EXPERIENCE: 5
NFL CAREER – A versatile player who has the ability to rusher the passer, set the edge on run plays or drop into pass coverage, Alex Okafor comes to New Orleans after spending the first four seasons of his NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals, who originally picked him in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft (103rd overall) out of the University of Texas. In 42 regular season appearances with 25 starts he's posted 100 tackles (53 solo), 13.5 sacks, one interception, five passes defensed, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and three special teams tackles.
CAREER TRANSACTIONS – Signed by the New Orleans Saints to a one-year contract (UFA-ARZ), 3/13/17; Placed on reserve/physically unable to perform list by Cardinals, 1/12/16; Placed by Cardinals on injured reserve (biceps), 9/25/13; Signed by Cardinals to a four-year contract, 6/4/13; Selected by the Arizona Cardinals in the fourth round (103rd overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft.
2016 – Played in 15 games and posted 16 tackles, 3.5 sacks, three tackles for loss and one forced fumble. Added eight QB hits, two QB pressures, two special teams stops and a fumble recovery on coverage units…Vs. Tampa Bay, Sept. 18, recorded a solo tackle and one special teams tackle…Collected two solo tackles vs. Los Angeles, Oct. 2…At San Francisco, Oct. 6, had four tackles (one solo), a half-sack, two QB hits and a special teams stop. Recorded a sack and forced fumble of Geno Smith in the fourth quarter vs. N.Y. Jets, Oct. 17; also had one solo tackle and two QB hits…Declared inactive at Carolina, Oct. 30…Sacked Sam Bradford for a 14-yard loss on first half's final play at Minnesota, Nov. 20; finished with two solo tackles, including one for a loss…At Miami, Dec. 11, recovered a fumble on a punt return…At Seattle, Dec. 24, had a sack of Russell Wilson and deflected a punt in the third quarter that helped set up a TD drive; also had two tackles, including one for loss. 2015: Started 13 games and finished season with 39 tackles and two sacks. Tied for second on the team with 13 QB pressures and added eight QB hits, two passes defensed, a fumble recovery and one tackle for loss…Collected two sacks of Drew Brees in season opener vs. New Orleans, Sept. 13; gave him a sack in five straight home games dating back to 2014 and marked his third career multi-sack game; added five tackles…Had four tackles at Chicago, Sept. 20…Had two tackles and led the team with two QB pressures and three QB hits vs. St. Louis, Oct. 4…Recorded three tackles, three QB pressures, one QB hit and a pass defensed at Detroit, Oct. 11; left the game with a calf injury…Inactive (calf) the next three games … returned from injury and had three tackles at Seattle, Nov. 15…Recovered an Adrian Peterson fumble in the third quarter to help set up a Cardinals TD vs. Minnesota, Dec. 10, marked first career fumble recovery; also had four tackles…Had four tackles and a team-high three QB pressures vs. Green Bay, Dec. 27…Placed on non-football injury list (toe) on 1/12/16. 2014: Started 12 of 13 games played after returning from an early season injury and led the team with 8.0 sacks, 20 QB pressures and 19 QB hits. Totaled 45 tackles, seven tackles for loss, one interception and three passes defensed. Collected seven takedowns in just six home games he played in. Joined Calais Campbell as only Cardinals with two multi sack games on the season…Inactive (thigh) for the first three games…Recorded first two career sacks in his first NFL start vs. Washington, Oct. 12 had first sack on opening play of the second quarter and then added another in the fourth quarter; marked the first multi-sack game of the season by a Cardinals player; totaled six tackles, the first tackles of his career on defense, and led the team with four QB hits and two QB pressures…Sacked Austin Davis for a four-yard loss on the Rams' final possession vs. St. Louis, Nov. 9, when he totaled five tackles, including two for loss, and led the team with three QB pressures and three QB hits…Tied career high with two sacks of Matthew Stafford vs. Detroit, Nov. 16 marked second multi-sack performance of the season; totaled three tackles, including two for loss, and had team highs with three QB hits and three QB pressures…Sacked Wilson to force a punt in the third quarter at Seattle, Nov. 23 marked third straight game with a sack and gave him six takedowns in a seven-game span; had four tackles, including one for loss, two QB pressures, two QB hits and his first career pass defensed…Recorded two tackles and team-leading two QB pressures at Atlanta, Nov. 30…Collected first career interception in the third quarter to help set up game-winning TD on ensuing possession vs. Kansas City, Dec. 7; had a fourth quarter sack of Alex Smith for a 13-yard loss to force a punt; first Cardinal of season with a sack and pick in same game; also added two tackles, including one for loss, two QB hits and a pass defensed…Totaled five tackles, three QB pressures and two QB hits at St. Louis, Dec. 11…Had a fourth quarter sack of Wilson and recorded a career-high seven tackles vs. Seattle, Dec. 21; led team with two tackles for loss and added a pass defensed and a QB hit…Recorded five tackles in Wild Card Playoff at Carolina, 1/3/15. 2013: Played in one game and had a special teams tackle before suffering season-ending biceps injury…Inactive at St. Louis, Sept. 8 and vs. Detroit, Sept. 15…Made his NFL debut and had one special teams tackle at New Orleans, Sept. 22…Placed on injured reserve, Sept. 25.
COLLEGE – In four seasons at Texas, Okafor started 33 of the 52 games he appeared in and recorded 150 tackles, 23 sacks, 34 tackles for loss, seven forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, four passes defensed and a blocked kick…A unanimous All-Big 12 first team selection as a senior in 2012, Okafor started 12 of the 13 games he played in at strong-side DE…Shared the team's Clyde Littlefield Most Spirited Defensive Player Award with Desmond Jackson and Kenny Vaccaro and he also shared the team's Joseph W. Moore Tenacity Award for Defense and Team Captain Award with Vaccaro...Earned the Roy Williams-Joe Jamail Leadership Award and was named third-team All-American by the NFL Draft Report…Led the league and tied for ninth in the nation with 12.5 sacks, as that total ranked seventh on the school season-record list…Ranked second in the Big 12 with a career-high 16.5 tackles for loss…Posted nine QB pressures and forced four fumbles, becoming one of just four FBS performers to record at least four forced fumbles and 12 sacks in 2012…Had a dominant performance in the Alamo Bowl win over Oregon State, as he earned Defensive Most Valuable Player honors after registering eight tackles, including career highs in tackles for loss (six) and sacks (4.5); his sack total set an Alamo Bowl game record…Earned a degree in Corporate Communications.
PERSONAL – Last name pronounced 'OH-kuh-for'…One of the nation's most highly decorated prep football players at Pflugerville (TX) HS, Okafor was a prep All-American and two-time All-State performer at DE...2008 Parade All-American, a second-team USA Today All-USA selection and a second-team EA Sports All-American...Started in 2009 U.S. Army All-American Bowl and participated in the inaugural Hawaii Prep Football Classic...A three-year starter and letterman in football and a two-time letterman in basketball...Rated as the nation's top DE after totaling 131 tackles and 20 sacks in his final two seasons...First-team 5A All-State selection by the Associated Press and the Texas Sports Writers Association as a senior after totaling 59 tackles, 12 sacks, 17 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and a blocked punt...Tabbed as an honorable mention 5A All-State selection by the TSWA as junior when he helped lead Pflugerville to a 13-4 mark and a berth in the 5A Div. II State Championship with 72 tackles and eight sacks...Two-time academic all-district selection.