Report: Saints expected to sign veteran DT Jaleel Johnson

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More help is on the way for the New Orleans Saints. The black and gold are expected to sign free agent defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson, per Houston Texans beat reporter Aaron Wilson. Their previously-reported addition of former Patriots and Packers defensive tackle Montravius Adams has not yet become official, but that would be two signings in the last three days to a position group that looked awful thin when the Saints rolled out their first 53-man roster.

David Onyemata is New Orleans’ best defensive tackle (and maybe their best player up front, depending on who you ask) but he’s going to miss the first six games with an NFL suspension. In his absence, the players on the active roster include Malcolm Roach, Shy Tuttle, and Christian Ringo, with Adams and Johnson on the way. The Saints practice squad also added undrafted rookie Josiah Bronson and 2020 backup Albert Huggins.

So with all that said to say: it’s very much a group that’s still being put together. What does Johnson add to it?

Johnson, 27, was a Minnesota Vikings fourth round draft choice in 2017 out of Iowa. He saw progressively larger snaps counts in their deep rotation in each of his first four years, but wasn’t re-signed and ended up spending his summer with the Texans. Houston released him during the final wave of roster cuts, and now he’s landed with the Saints.

He isn’t a great athlete listed at 6-foot-3 and 316 pounds, posting a mediocre 1.87 Relative Athletic Score, but Johnson does offer more as a pass rusher than Adams or other players on the roster. Pro Football Focus credited him with four pressures in three preseason games for Houston, totaling 25 pressures (seven sacks) in his time with Minnesota. While he probably isn’t someone the Saints want to start in Week 1, he does add a boost of veteran experience to a thin position group.

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