At the conclusion of the 2019 draft, the New Orleans Saints moved quickly to sign University of Tennessee defensive tackle Shy Tuttle. A teammate of New Orleans RB Alvin Kamara with the Volunteers in 2016, Tuttle had gone undrafted because of modest statistical production.
The Saints had great luck with another undrafted defensive tackle the year before, Taylor Stallworth, and would again strike gold. Tuttle supplanted the promising Stallworth on the depth chart in training camp, earning a place within an impressive New Orleans defensive line rotation.
Tuttle even earned a start in his first ever regular season game, recording half a sack in the 2019 season opening win over the Houston Texans. He appeared in all 16 games as a rookie, providing one of the season's highlights with an acrobatic interception of Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan, then proceeding to flatten Ryan with a stiff arm in a Thanksgiving night victory.
Tuttle provided more than just that epic highlight during the 2019 season. He had 2 sacks, 6 QB pressures, and 3 tackles for loss while playing sound run defense and solid pass rushing depth.
Today's Year-in-Review spotlight looks back at his contributions during the 2020 season.
Like Tuttle did to Stallworth in 2019, he was briefly overtaken in the rotation by another undrafted rookie defensive tackle, Malcolm Roach. After being inactive for two of the year’s first three contests, Tuttle was back among the interior rotation.
Tuttle didn't provide the interior pass rush totals he did as a rookie, but improved his run defense and tied up blockers effectively. He registered a career-best 6 tackles during a Week 14 game at Philadelphia, then followed that up with a career-high 46 defensive snaps against the Chiefs in mid-December.
Tuttle started three of the final four games of the regular season, logging the highest percentage of playing time in his young career. The 25-Yr old tackle finished with 2 tackles for loss among his 28 total stops. He did not record a sack, but registered 3 QB pressures and one knockdown.
The 6’3” 300-Lb Tuttle played with better leverage in his second season and is developing into a reliable inside presence for the New Orleans defense. With the offseason departures of defensive tackles Sheldon Rankins and Malcom Brown, the team’s formidable interior depth has been thinned. The Saints will need continued development from Tuttle and Malcolm Roach to maintain a talented defensive tackle rotation in 2021.