Top 5 New Orleans Saints Inside Linebackers Of All-Time
Who are the top 5 inside linebackers in the history of the New Orleans Saints?
Yesterday, we unveiled the five best tight ends in franchise history.
Today, we go back to the defensive side of the ball.
1)---SAM MILLS---As a member of the “Dome Parol” linebacking corps, Mills was a nine-year starter for the Saints (1986-1994), compiling 894 tackles, to go along with four interceptions, and 17 fumble recoveries. A four-time Pro Bowler during his time with the Saints, Mills was the anchor of one of the top defensive units in the league for almost an entire decade. Mills was elected to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 1991, the Sports Hall of Fame of New Jersey in 1993, and the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame in 1998. Sadly, Mills was diagnosed with intestinal cancer in August of 2003, and passed away in 2005.
2)---VAUGHAN JOHNSON---As a member of the “Dome Parol” linebacking corps, Johnson was a seven-year starter for the Saints (1987-1993), compiling 664 tackles, to go along with four interceptions, and 5 fumble recoveries. A four-time Pro Bowler during his time with the Saints, Johnson was a fixture of one of the top defensive units in the league for almost an entire decade. He was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.
3)---JONATHAN VILMA---He played 6 years (2008-2013) with the Saints, and was incredibly productive, twice (2009 & 2010) being named to the Pro Bowl, while helping the team to a 2009 Super Bowl title. Over 70 career games with the Saints, including 68 as a starter, Vilma accumulated 313 tackles, including 8 sacks, to go along with 6 interceptions and 8 fumble recoveries.
4)---JOE FEDERSPIEL---For the better part of the entire decade of the 1970′s, Federspiel was a solid force on a New Orleans Saints defense that was anything but. Selected by the Saints in the fourth round of the 1972 NFL Draft out of Kentucky, Federspiel went on to play nine years for club, starting 111 games, including five years of him starting every single game, from 1975-1979. Since he played in an era where tackles weren’t recorded, it’s almost impossible to compare him to past, or present players, but he was one of the bright spots on the Saints’ defenses of the 70′s.
5)---DENNIS WINSTON---He played only four years for the organization (1982-1985), but he was a stabilizing figure on that linebacker group in the early 1980's, featuring Rickey Jackson, Jim Kovach, and Whitney Paul, which is the second-best group in franchise history. Part of the 1983 Saints team, which should have made the playoffs, was a three-year starter, who provided toughness. Would you expect anything less from a guy nicknamed "Dirt"?