As the pre-season draws to an end, the most challenging decisions still await head coaches. Who gets cut and who makes the 53 player roster is one of the early signs of the regular season. NFL franchises shape their rosters after whittling down pre-season squads.
The New Orleans Saints are no different. Tough choices must get made by head coach Sean Payton. With Hurricane Ida wrecking plans for New Orleans’ final pre-season game, the chance is arguably gone for bubble players. Here is a 53 player roster projection for the New Orleans Saints.
Despite Drew Brees’ retirement, the quarterback room looks settled. Jameis Winston is the Week 1 starter, Taysom Hill is an adequate QB2, and Ian Book rosters his rookie campaign. There is no room for former Bronco Trevor Siemian.
(Running and Full) Back
Alvin Kamara could skip the pre-season and still make the roster; he’s that good. Tony Jones endured a quiet rookie season in 2020, but the sophomore shone in a pre-season game against the Ravens. Sean Payton loves owning one experienced back on his roster; Devonta Freeman possesses enough juice to take the RB3 spot. Sutton Smith is the lone fullback.
After Jared Cook’s departure, Adam Trautman is number one in NOLA. Nick Vannett makes the roster, despite suffering an injury against Jacksonville. Garrett Griffin seals the third spot. The tough blocker can get used on heavy sets.
The wideout position causes New Orleans some problems. Michael Thomas is MIA through injury; meanwhile, Deonte Harris faces a two-week suspension. The young, dynamic duo of Marquez Callaway and Tre’Quan Smith provide speed and exuberance. Lastly, Lil’Jordan Humphrey could shock plenty of pundits in 2021. The gritty and gutsy youngster is a talent. Chris Hogan won’t make the roster.
The world-class tandem of Ryan Ramczyk and Terron Armstead gets backed up by James Hurst and Landon Young. Swing tackle Ethan Greenridge’s presence on IR is a blow softened by Hurst’s versatility. Tackle Derrick Kelly is a decent practice squad candidate.
Interior Offensive Linemen
The interior of the offensive line now boasts a healthy amount of depth. Calvin Throckmorton’s enjoyed a solid training camp, and Will Clapp adds depth behind superstar Erik McCoy.
- Cam Jordan
- David Onyeamata
- Malcolm Roach
- Shy Tuttle
- Marcus Davenport
- Carl Granderson
- Payton Turner
- Albert Huggins
- Christian Ringo
Despite losing Trey Hendrickson in free agency, the Saints’ defensive front is stout. Albert Huggins is an adequate replacement during Onyeamata’s suspension. Rookie Payton Turner’s flashed potential in camp, and experienced role players Shy Tuttle and Christian Ringo return to add depth. Jalen Dalton’s triceps injury is a big blow for New Orleans.
Considering the number of snaps some of the Saints linebackers spend on special teams, narrowing the position group down was tricky. Chase Hansen’s experience on special teams and defense provides him the best shot at making the roster. Baun and Werner is a fascinating on-field battle as both players adapt to NFL life. Kaden Ellis enjoyed a solid pre-season program.
The Saints’ top-heavy cornerback room could hurt them. They lack depth, especially with Ken Crawley nursing a knock. Sadly, Bryan Mills and Russell KeiVarae are not good enough to make the roster.
The talent-packed position room possesses elite talent. JT Gray beats out the camp competition to make the squad. The former All-Pro and Pro Bowl special teamer is a lock on that side of the ball. Chauncey Gardner Johnson, Marcus Williams, and Malcolm Jenkins complete this formidable foursome.
Blake Gillikin replaces former punter Thomas Morstead. Aldrick Rosas takes the kicks early on this season before Will Lutz comes back from injury.
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