The idea of him playing defensive end is one I like. At 6'4", 252lbs he's a little lean but he can add bulk to his frame, and there is no question he's got the length and explosiveness to be dangerous off the edge. You think Junior Galette is fast off the edge? Wilson smokes him. His ability as a linebacker makes him an attractive piece at defensive end, too, because he can tackle soundly and he can cover a little. The big question is whether he can absorb a big edge blocker or tackle on every down. That kind of wear and tear is something not every player is built for, and you have to question with his frame if he can handle that. Still, based on his speed being his major asset, you have to figure he's a situational player, so perhaps the physical stress of run support situations will be kept to a minimum. And in this day and age teams run the ball less and less, so run stuffing defensive ends like Cam Jordan are less useful, and getting to the quarterback comes at a premium. With the depth the Saints now have at linebacker, too, after signing David Hawthorne, Curtis Lofton, and Chris Chamberlain, it suggests end may be the easiest way to land Wilson a roster spot. Don't forget the Saints also return Vilma (barring suspension for a year), Shanle, Herring, Bussey, and Casillas among others. The depth there allows them to play around with Wilson and see if his freakish athleticism can be used elsewhere.
Right now the starting ends are Cam Jordan and Will Smith, who is facing a four game suspension. Behind them there's Junior Galette, Turk McBride and Greg Romeus, followed by a number of no name youngsters that are unproven. With Smith likely to miss the first four games, that leaves a guy that missed the entirety of last year (Romeus), a guy so banged up he missed half the season (McBride), a guy that had one sack despite playing in all 16 games (Jordan) and a guy that only came in for pass rushing situations (Galette). While all those guys are capable football players, it's not a 4 man rotation you necessarily feel great about. So adding Wilson to the mix helps depth without taking much away from the linebacking core. That can only be seen as a positive.
For the stat geeks out there, interesting to note that Martez Wilson was graded by PFF as the second best pass rusher on the team last season. He received a +1.5 score for the year, only behind Junior Galette (+5.0). By comparison, Cam Jordan finished the year with a -6.1 score, and Turk McBride and Will Smith both rated at -0.9.
Do you like the move? How do you see Wilson panning out at defensive end?
I like the hybrid players very much. By design.. Tight end. Is he gonna block, if he gonna catch, just a chip, is he blocking first, then leaving that block for a catch. Same with versatile runningbacks like Thomas (master of screens) and Sproles (Heck I even signed Bush on madden 11 when he got dumped by the dolphins and converted him into a WR because he had better WR stats than RB stats).
Now Harper is a fast blitser but can also cover... well... never mind. Wilson is a perfect example of a hybrid player. While he is an excellent rusher you'll never know if he drops into coverage where you rush only 3, though not his strong point his speed and training gives him a better eye on playing coverage then and other lineman.
PS the new LBs... you mentioned Chris Chamberlain twice.
PPS the only reason smiths score is so low is double teams. They are done by stats and as far as I know the number of times you got doubleteamed doesn't show up in any stats.
@MarijnPessers oops, I meant David Hawthorne obviously. My bad, good catch, thanks for that. The NFL is becoming a league of hybrid players. It used to be if you were a good "athlete" but didn't fit a position well you were better off finding another sport. Now, the league is all about hybrids.