METAIRIE, La. — The Saints found a way to lighten the load at the running back position while at the same time beefing up the defensive front.
New Orleans traded Chris Ivory to the New York Jets for the No. 106 overall pick and then turned around, dishing the No. 106 and 109 pick to Miami for the No. 82 overall pick.
And because of it, the Saints were able to grab John Jenkins, a mountain of a man who could become the linchpin of Rob Ryan’s 3-4 defense. Jenkins, 6-foot-3, 359 pounds, should help keep the middle clean for the inside linebackers in Ryan’s scheme.
Shortly after Ivory was traded, he tweeted, “Thankful for the opportunity with the saints but now it's time to part ways.. Too all my fans appreciate the love. Chris Ivory is now a #Jet”
Ivory, who the Saints found as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2010, finished his time in New Orleans with 1,307 yards rushing and eight touchdowns. But he spent time on the inactive list injured in each of his three years in New Orleans, one of the reasons he likely was expendable.
The other reason – more than $2 million was owed to him this year, a lot of money for a running back situated behind Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram on the depth chart.
In two years at the University of Georgia, Jenkins finished with 78 tackles, including eight for a loss and four sacks.
But what those numbers may not convey is job he did in allowing the linebackers behind him to make plays while shutting down the inside in the run game. UGA allowed only 28 rushing touchdowns the past two seasons.
Jenkins will join Brodrick Bunkley, Akiem Hicks and Tom Johnson in the middle.