These last 12 months have been forgettable for the Saints for many reasons -- starting with the bounty scandal -- but much of the in-season self-inflicted damage came courtesy of the defense. It's why Steve Spagnuolo was fired after less than a year as defensive coordinator. And it's why Rob Ryan was hired to fix what had become the NFL's worst defense.
Ryan will bring the 3-4 to New Orleans, and part of the plan is to move defensive end Junior Galette to outside linebacker. And Galette will be with the Saints for at least three more years; the two sides agreed to terms on a three-year deal, the team announced Saturday.
The 2010 undrafted free agent out of Stillman College played in 12 games last season and registered a career-high five sacks. He's appeared in 32 games in his three-year career, making two starts.
At 6-foot-2, 258 pounds, Galette has the frame to play outside linebacker in Ryan's scheme, a possibility he was excited to talk about last month.
"Any transition I would have to make would be smooth," Galette said, according to the Times-Picayune's Larry Holder. "God blessed me with the ability to move around, and I would be blessed to make that transition. I don't want to end up playing 26 percent of the snaps like I did last year.
"I don't think it's even a matter of being more comfortable from one position to another. It's simply being on the field. It's just like basketball. As long as you're on the court, you can make things happen. The ultimate goal they're going to have for me is to get to the quarterback. That's what I do and that's my strong point. They're going to use every tool I have to get me to the quarterback."
According to FootballOutsiders.com, the Saints ranked 32nd in defense in 2012 (28th against the pass, 30th against the run). That fact, as well as Ryan's arrival, means the organization will be looking to beef up that side of the ball in the coming weeks and months. This explains why in their respective mock drafts, NFLDraftScout.com's Rob Rang and Dane Brugler have Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan and Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones going to New Orleans with the 15th pick. It also sheds light on any speculation that just-released James Harrison could be on the Saints' radar.
Whatever happens, Galette sounds like he's up for it.