May 19, 2024

The New Orleans Saints have bolstered their defense by adding another free agent linebacker to their roster. Following the signing of linebacker Willie Gay earlier in free agency, the Saints continued to address their linebacker position by signing veteran Khaleke Hudson on Thursday. Hudson, who spent the last four seasons with the Washington Commanders, joins New Orleans on a one-year deal.

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Drafted out of Michigan in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft, Hudson initially made his mark as a key special teams contributor and depth linebacker for Washington. However, he saw an increased role last season, starting eight games out of the 17 he played in and tallying 74 total tackles, five tackles for loss, and a sack. He notably recorded the most tackles for Washington over the final four weeks of the season.

Hudson reunites with his former draft classmate Chase Young, who was the Saints’ first pick in the 2020 Draft. Young’s offseason signing aimed to bolster the team’s pass rush, and Hudson’s addition further strengthens the linebacker corps, which seeks improvement against both the run and the pass.

In the 2023 season, the Saints struggled against the run, allowing an average of 119.9 rushing yards per game, ranking 22nd in the NFL. The acquisitions of Chase Young and additional linebackers like Hudson aim to address this deficiency. With Pro Bowler Demario Davis solidifying his starting role, Hudson, Gay, and Pete Werner will compete for the other starting linebacker position. It’s anticipated that all four linebackers will receive playing time throughout the season.

While Hudson adjusts to his new environment in New Orleans, Saints fans may recall his impactful play from a previous encounter. In a game against the Saints in 2021, Hudson delivered a memorable hit on star running back Alvin Kamara during a punt return. Now wearing the Saints uniform, Hudson aims to replicate such impactful plays for his new team.

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