Saints’ Alex Okafor Striving To Be What The Defense Needs
When the New Orleans Saints landed pass rusher Alex Okafor, they envisioned someone who would be a force on the opposite side of Cameron Jordan.
On Saturday night, during the Saints’ practice, they saw a glimpse of how disruptive Okafor can be when he racked up at least two fill sacks during full-team drills.
“Well, that’s why I came here. I knew there’d be an opportunity to play right away. … So, I’m doing all I can to be that guy opposite [Cameron Jordan],” said Okafor.
Kafor, 26, has battled a range of injuries during his career but has a very promising 2014 campaign when he notched 8 sacks. Since then Okafor has struggled with only 5.5 sacks in that 2-year span.
“I came from a place in Arizona [Cardinals] where we already had two great edge-rushers, and I kind of added towards that,” Okafor said. “So, now I’m ready to come within my own and be that guy for this team.”
Saints’ head coach Sean Payton likes the versatility Okafor brings to the table.
“He got some outside rush [snaps on Sunday night], but we’ve worked him [inside] in the NASCAR or the nickel rush. He’s healthy, and I think you’re seeing some real good signs,” Payton said.
“I’m just excited to play within this defense, play with these guys in a live-game situation,” said Okafor, who signed a one-year “prove it” deal with the Saints this offseason.
“I think I’m picking things up pretty well, [but] I still got a lot to learn,” Okafor said.
“I just gotta most importantly get comfortable within the defense, and I think I’m making good strides doing that.”