Jan 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Tyeler Davison (95) against the Minnesota Vikings during the NFC divisional playoff game at U.S. Bank Stadium.

USA Today Sports

Saints defensive line embracing big expectations in 2018

DT Tyeler Davison says cohesion, confidence are very important to the group

Seth Dunlap
June 13, 2018 - 7:11 pm

Defensive tackles, much like offensive lineman, do a lot of dirty work in the trenches without getting much of the glory.  That's the way it's been in the NFL for generations, and that isn't likely to change soon.   Yet it's the work of those gargantuan men that often separate elite teams from the chaff of the league.  

Last year's precipitous rise for the Saints was built on unexpected great play across both the offensive and defensive lines, even in the face of mounting injuries.  One of those unheralded stars was defensive tackle Tyeler Davison who is back and entering his fourth year with the team. 

"We've definitely grown together the last few years too," Davison said about his teammates, and close friends, across the defensive line.  "We've seen each other develop and get better and better too.  I think it's really good for us, having played some years together now."

That cohesion was a big factor in the Saints bringing back defensive end Alex Okafor, who excelled as both a run stopper and pass rusher last year from the outside.   The team also traded up to select defensive end Marcus Davenport in the first round of the NFL Draft.   The talent is certainly there, and now so is the confidence.

"It is a little bit different coming into this year.  As far as ourselves, our expectations have always been high, We're expecting to go big every year," Davison said.  "Now, this year we have a little more confidence knowing that we came off a good year."

It's hard to judge interior lineman during a non-contact mini camp, but this group is now as deep, and as talented, as any other in the Sean Payton era. 

Listen to Davison's full interview with Kristian Garic in the audio podcast below.

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