Overshadowed Talent Bolsters the Saints Depth and Fuels Their Championship Pursuit

Four players who could star for several other teams that selflessly take a lesser role to make New Orleans a championship contender.
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The New Orleans Saints have forged a 37-11 record and won three consecutive NFC South titles over the last three seasons. Much of that success is because of the Saints tremendous star power. Players like QB Drew Brees, RB Alvin Kamara, WR Michael Thomas, OTs Ryan Ramczyk and Terron Armstead, TE Jared Cook, DE Cameron Jordan, LB Demario Davis, and CB Marshon Lattimore are all among the league's best at their respective positions. New Orleans also owes their success to several complimentary players throughout both the offense and defense. These are players who would probably play bigger roles on other teams but have accepted a lesser role with the Saints in pursuit of a championship. Here are two players on each side of the ball that have played a crucial part of this team's success outside of the spotlight.

TAYSOM HILL, QB/WR/RB/TE

Jan 5, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill (7) runs the ball against the Minnesota Vikings during the second quarter of a NFC Wild Card playoff football game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 5, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill (7) runs the ball against the Minnesota Vikings during the second quarter of a NFC Wild Card playoff football game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Hill, a cult favorite among Saints fans, burst upon the national scene two years ago because of his amazing versatility. He first became an important part of the New Orleans offense because of his bruising running ability and open field speed. Hill's offensive role grew in 2019 because of improved receiving skills. He's rushed for 352 yards and 3 scores over the last two years, picking up a first down or scoring a touchdown on 29 of his 64 rushing attempts. Hill also hauled in 19 receptions for 234 yards and 6 touchdowns, converting an incredible 14 of those catches into 1st downs and giving opposing defenses more nightmares.

LATAVIUS MURRAY, RB

Oct 27, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Latavius Murray (28) runs against the Arizona Cardinals during the third quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY

Oct 27, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Latavius Murray (28) runs against the Arizona Cardinals during the third quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY

Although Murray was underused in 2019, his first year with the Saints, he was still valuable to their offensive success. He was second on the team with 637 rushing yards and tied Alvin Kamara for the team lead with 5 scores on the ground, adding an additional 234 yards receiving and a score on 34 receptions. Murray had consecutive games of over 100-Yds rushing at mid-season when Kamara was sidelined by injury. He isn't the dynamic dual-threat to defenses that Kamara is, but is a powerful force between the tackles with breakaway speed in the open field. Expect him to be utilized more often in his second year in the Saints system, giving this offense a lethal 1-2 punch with Kamara at running back.

MALCOM BROWN, DT

Sep 29, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Malcom Brown (90) runs off the field after their win against the Dallas Cowboys at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY 

Sep 29, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Malcom Brown (90) runs off the field after their win against the Dallas Cowboys at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY 

Brown was a valuable free agent pickup for the New Orleans defense last offseason. After winning two Super Bowl titles in his four years with the New England Patriots, the 32nd overall selection of the 2015 draft brought his underrated talents to the Saints in 2019. Starting all 16 contests, Brown had 2 sacks and matched his career bests in both QB hits (6) and tackles for loss (5). The 6’2” 320-Lb Brown is a bull in the middle, combining outstanding run defense skills with underrated pass rush ability.

DAVID ONYEMATA, DT

Nov 29, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) is sacked in the first quarter by New Orleans Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata (93) at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY

Nov 29, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) is sacked in the first quarter by New Orleans Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata (93) at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY

Often overshadowed by DT Sheldon Rankins, who was a 1st round pick in the same draft where he was selected in the 4th round by the Saints, Onyemata has improved his play in each of his five years. He started out as a situational pass rusher with raw instincts but tremendous athleticism and is now one constant for a deep and talented New Orleans defensive line. Onyemata had just 3 sacks in 2019, but affected several plays with 15 QB pressures. He has also blossomed into a solid run defender, allowing the Saints to leave him on the field in all situations. Onyemata turned down a potentially bigger payday with other teams this offseason to re-sign a 3-Yr deal with New Orleans, helping guarantee that the Saints will once again have one of the NFL's most powerful defensive line rotation.