Report: Saints to Sign DT Jaleel Johnson

New Orleans adds a former NFC rival to provide defensive line depth.
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The New Orleans Saints are expected to sign veteran defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson on Friday. The news was first reported by Aaron Wilson, who covers the Houston Texans.

Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Jaleel Johnson (94) sacks Denver quarterback Brandon Allen (2). Mandatory Credit: Ben Ludeman-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Jaleel Johnson (94) sacks Denver quarterback Brandon Allen (2). Mandatory Credit: Ben Ludeman-USA TODAY Sports

The 27-year-old Johnson entered the NFL as a fourth-round pick by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Iowa. He appeared in five games as a rookie.

Johnson had been a regular part of the Vikings defensive line rotation since 2018, playing in all 48 regular-season games and four postseason contests.

He started one game in 2018, recording a half-sack, 2 QB pressures, one tackle for loss, and forcing a fumble.

Johnson had a career-high 3.5 sacks, 6 pressures, and 5 tackles for loss in 2019. He followed that up by starting all 16 games last year and appearing in a career-best 61% of the Vikings defensive snaps. He had 1.5 sacks, 2 pressures, and 3 tackles for loss.

After signing with the Houston Texans as a free agent this spring, Johnson was a surprising cut when the team finalized its 53-man roster earlier this week.

A 6’3” and 316-Lb tackle, Johnson is best against the run. He's a powerfully built player who plays with excellent leverage inside.

As a pass rusher, he doesn't have a big array of moves but uses his strength to push the pass pocket back into a quarterback.

The Saints will be without star DT David Onyemata for the first six games as he serves a league suspension.

Texans defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson (91) celebrates a fumble recovery against Green Bay during a preseason game. Mandatory Credit: Wm Glasheen/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin via USA TODAY NETWORK

Texans defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson (91) celebrates a fumble recovery against Green Bay during a preseason game. Mandatory Credit: Wm Glasheen/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin via USA TODAY NETWORK

New Orleans had already lost DT Jalen Dalton to a season-ending injury in the preseason after parting ways with tackles Sheldon Rankins and Malcom Brown this offseason. 

Johnson will compete for a spot in the interior rotation with Shy Tuttle, Malcolm Roach, Christian Ringo, and newly signed Montravius Adams.

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