The play of their two star linebackers helped the Saints finish in the top-five of the league in most major defensive categories in 2020. New Orleans has had good luck with veteran acquisitions at linebacker since Sean Payton took over at head coach in 2006. The team has not had nearly the success when drafting linebackers during this same period.
In 2006, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner trotted out onto the New Orleans Saints practice field wearing the same number he wore at the University of Southern California, number 5. Before the beginning of his rookie year, Saints RB Reggie Bush made an aggressive push for the NFL to allow him to wear the single-digit number as a tailback. He even repped his college number in a variation of his 2006 Topps rookie card.
Obviously, there's a culture there that players want to be a part of; they're willing to take maybe a little bit of a home team discounted to stay with Mickey to stay with Sean to be in that environment to live in that city. And I think that they've done a good job, it's obvious that they have a plan. It's obvious that they work well together.