Saints shifting Will Smith to outside linebacker
The New Orleans Saints are going to switch veteran defensive end Will Smith to outside linebacker on Tuesday when the team opens up OTA’s.
The Saints are converting to a 3-4 scheme under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Smith will be expected to rush the passer like always from his new position.
"Look, Will's a really good football player," general manager Mickey Loomis said, according to Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "We'll find a place for Will to be playing, but I think ideally it would be outside linebacker. I think that's where we see him and that's where he'll start out in camp. And look, I expect the same things that we've gotten out of him that we've gotten in the past which is really a high level of play."
Smith took a big pay cut to remain with the Saints this offseason and that could be because he realized the market would be soft for a veteran on the back side of his career. There will be a lot of talk about him moving from a three-point stance to being a stand-up player but the reality is an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme is most frequently rushing the passer. So, the change might not be that drastic for Smith.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune