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Saints label defense as 4-3 scheme in first unofficial depth chart

It’s probably a moot point since the New Orleans Saints flex between 4-3 and 3-4 fronts, like most NFL teams. But I still found it noteworthy that the Saints switched labels in the first unofficial depth chart released by the team on Monday.

The Saints now list themselves as a 4-3 defense after being listed as a 3-4 the past two years. That means Cameron Jordan is officially still labeled as a defensive end in his new edge-rushing role, even though coach Sean Payton identified Jordan as both a “Jack linebacker” and defensive end the other day.

Jordan agrees with the label.

“I call it an end, because my hand’s still in the dirt. But you call it what you want,” Jordan said when asked for a clarification.

Backups Parys Haralson and Anthony Spencer are both listed as defensive ends in that same hybrid role behind Jordan.

Also noteworthy in the Saints’ first unofficial depth chart – emphasis on the word unofficial:

  • Rookie Stephone Anthony is listed as the second-string Mike linebacker behind veteran David Hawthorne. But his practice snaps suggest that won’t be the case for long. Anthony has continued to work with the first-string defense this week, with Hawthorne being bumped to the second string after veteran Will linebacker Dannell Ellerbe returned from an injury.

  • Rookie Hau’oli Kikaha, meanwhile, is listed as a starter at Sam linebacker. He’s in a crowded mix, though, with second-year pros Kasim Edebali and Ronald Powell. And Spencer could play that role, as well. Based on practice snaps, I think I’d list Edebali as the current starter, though we’ll learn a lot more in the coming weeks.

Here’s how the Saints listed the full defense. Stay tuned for the offense and special teams:

LDE: Akiem Hicks, Bobby Richardson, Tavaris Barnes

LDT: John Jenkins, Ashaad Mabry, Lawrence Virgil

RDT: Kevin Williams, Tyeler Davison, Kaleb Eulls

RDE: Cameron Jordan, Parys Haralson/Anthony Spencer, Markus Pierce-Brewster

WLB: Dannell Ellerbe, Ramon Humber, Henry Coley

MLB: David Hawthorne, Stephone Anthony, Jerry Franklin

SLB: Hau’oli Kikaha, Kasim Edebali, Ronald Powell, Davis Tull

LCB: Keenan Lewis, Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Brian Dixon, Kyle Wilson, P.J. Williams

SS: Kenny Vaccaro, Vinnie Sunseri, Jamarca Sanford

FS: Jairus Byrd, Rafael Bush, Kenny Phillips, Pierre Warren

RCB: Brandon Browner, Delvin Breaux, Terrence Frederick, Damian Swann, Travis Manning