New Orleans Saints minicamp is backside u.s.a., and the week of mandatory practices helped requite us a better idea of how the team is constructed and which position groups are well off — and which areas might demand some more assistance. It’s a good opportunity to take stock of each unit and project what the 53-man roster could look like in a few months, though of course training army camp, the preseason games, and a couple thousand roster moves across the league will milkshake that up.
Looking at this projection sheds light on some of their free agent tryouts during minicamp: there’southward a pretty clear shelf at running back behind Alvin Kamara, and the grip that backup guard Forrest Lamp and tertiary-yr linebacker Zack Baun have on their roster spots looks shaky. That helps explain the interest in veterans like running back David Johnson, guard Senio Kelemete, and linebacker Joe Schobert. Information technology wouldn’t be a shock if the Saints bring in more contest at those positions going into training military camp.
But here’s where things stand up right now. Let’s run through the list:
- No. two Jameis Winston
- No. 5 Andy Dalton
- No. xvi Ian Book
No movement here. With Taysom Hill converted to tight terminate, the Saints should keep Book around as an emergency option behind Dalton, who is backing upwards Winston. Hopefully Book turns in a stronger summer in his second flavour after a crude rookie year. The Saints could bring in competition for him during grooming camp, but frankly they’ve got bigger fish to fry than shaking up the 3rd quarterback spot on their depth nautical chart.
- No. 41 Alvin Kamara
- No. 14 Mark Ingram
- No. 24 Dwayne Washington
- No. 28 Devine Ozigbo
- No. 46 Adam Prentice (fullback)
No. 34 Tony Jones Jr., No. 33 Abram Smith (rookie)
I’k pulling for Smith to fight his way into the rotation, but he has a long way to go, and Ozigbo made more plays on passing downs than both Jones and the undrafted Baylor Bear, and that might make a deviation if he can keep it up. Kamara’s break is looming over everything but there hasn’t been any change yet (his adjacent courtroom appointment is Aug. 1) and so nosotros’re sticking with the typical “4 running backs plus a fullback” lineup.
- No. 81 Nick Vannett
- No. 82 Adam Trautman
- No. 7 Taysom Loma
No. 83 Juwan Johnson, No. 44 Lucas Krull (rookie), No. 88 J.P. Holtz, No. 86 Kahale Warring
It’southward feeling like a make-or-break season for Trautman and each of the other 2020 Saints typhoon picks, but more on them in a infinitesimal. None of the tight ends really stood out in minicamp’due south low-intensity practices, which makes sense. We’ll go a better idea of the group in grooming campsite. But in the meantime, it feels like the well-nigh-experienced players in the group have an reward. Johnson and Krull have enough of potential, though information technology’s unrealized simply notwithstanding. Holtz could help his chances by splitting fourth dimension at fullback (something he’s done in by stops in the NFL).
- No. xiii Michael Thomas
- No. 12 Chris Olave (rookie)
- No. fourscore Jarvis Landry
- No. 1 Marquez Callaway
- No. 11 Deonte Harty
No. 10 Tre’Quan Smith, No. 17 Kevin White, No. 18 Easop Winston Jr., No. 85 Kirk Merritt, No. 87 Kawaan Baker, No. 84 Dai’Jean Dixon (rookie), No. 89 Rashid Shaheed (rookie)
Information technology’s not too common for the Saints to roster half dozen receivers, and when they exercise typically v dress for game days, and then nosotros could see veterans like Smith and highly-touted undrafted signings similar Dixon and Shaheed not make the cut this yr. The investments New Orleans made at the position are paying off by reestablishing the height of the depth chart. At the same time, the Saints have shown us they’ll proceed six receivers in the by (and they like to retain ii or three on the exercise squad at all times), and so an impressive summer could help ane of those players on the fringe earn a roster spot.
- No. 71 Ryan Ramczyk
- No. 74 James Hurst
- No. seventy Trevor Penning (rookie)
- No. 73 Ethan Greenidge
- No. 67 Landon Young
No. 63 Jerald Hawkins, No. 79 Sage Doxtater (rookie), No. 63 Khalique Washington (rookie)
This is i position group that could exist shaken upwards quickly come training camp, once players tin begin engaging at full speed in squad drills. That’s when nosotros’ll learn who has the chops to hold up in pass protection confronting NFL contest. For now, I’m sticking with the two backups who take done information technology before in Greenidge and Young, who have besides both cross-trained at right tackle. That’s important with Hurst and Penning locking downwardly the left side.
- No. 78 Erik McCoy (middle)
- No. 75 Andrus Peat
- No. 51 Cesar Ruiz
- No. 76 Calvin Throckmorton
No. 77 Forrest Lamp, No. 68 Josh Andrews, No. 66 Lewis Kidd (rookie), No. 64 Derek Schweiger (rookie)
This is the position group I’ve got the least conviction in, because it’south the about hard to evaluate at this stage in the offseason. Nobody else is going to benefit more from taking reps in pads later on this summer. Lamp spent function of the 2021 season on the Saints exercise squad only couldn’t get into games — maybe a total offseason benefits him and he’s able to make the spring this year. Only this feels like an area you’d like to run into reinforced by grooming camp, maybe by bringing back Kelemete.
- No. 3 Wil Lutz (kicker)
- No. 4 Blake Gillikin (punter)
- No. 49 Zach Wood
No. 15 John Parker Romo (rookie kicker), No. xix Daniel Whelan (No. 19 rookie punter)
No surprises here, which is a relief after all the kickers New Orleans cycled through in 2021. Lutz needs some time to shake off the rust after a complicated recovery from concluding summer’southward groin injury cost him xi months in the prime of his career. Whelan has had some highlights early on with the Saints, just Gillikin is a special talent and should take another big step forward in his second season equally Thomas Morstead’due south successor.
- No. 94 Cameron Jordan
- No. 92 Marcus Davenport
- No. 98 Payton Turner
- No. 96 Carl Granderson
- No. xc Tanoh Kpassagnon
No. 54 Taco Charlton
It’south going to be very tough for Charlton to elbow his way into this group, unless a couple players offset the year on an injury list (which is non anticipated; Davenport and Turner missed minicamp while recovering from injuries simply are both expected to suit upward for preparation army camp in July). And even so the Saints have run with four defensive ends in the by, though 5 seems to be their preference. When healthy, this unit should be a forcefulness of the team.
- No. 93 David Onyemata
- No. 99 Shy Tuttle
- No. 69 Kentavius Street
- No. 59 Hashemite kingdom of jordan Jackson (rookie)
No. 95 Albert Huggins, No. 97 Malcolm Roach, No. 91 Jaleel Johnson, No. 57 Josh Black
New Orleans normally carries eight or nine defensive linemen in total, and then this time the configuration ran light on the interior (it helps that edge players like Kpassagnon and Davenport have gotten some looks moving within, and that the Saints like to run a lot of looks with Onyemata as the sole defensive tackle). Huggins and Roach were both phased out of the rotation in one case Onyemata returned from interruption final yr. Street is a solid pressure histrion, and Jackson has a high ceiling.
- No. 56 Demario Davis
- No. 20 Pete Werner
- No. 55 Kaden Elliss
- No. 53 Zack Baun
- No. 50 Andrew Dowell
- No. 52 D’Marco Jackson (rookie)
- Roster cuts: No. 58 Eric Wilson, No. 42 Isaiah Pryor (rookie), No. 45 Nephi Sewell (rookie)
It’s rare to see the Saints field more than two linebackers at a fourth dimension. They’d rather become another defensive back on the field in near situations. And unless Kwon Alexander is re-signed or another veteran brought in, information technology looks similar Davis and Werner are going to get the king of beasts’s share of snaps played at linebacker. That ways the players behind them demand to get a lot of looks on special teams to justify their roster spot. Elliss has become one of the Saints’ top players in the kick game, and Jackson brings a strong resume from the college level. But Baun and Dowell accept done well covering punts and kickoffs, too, and the Saints take cultivated special teams aces at other positions. Then it’ll take more than than special teams power to make the cut, and you’ve got to hope the lightbulb finally comes on for Baun in his third season. This should make for a very intense battle throughout grooming camp and the preseason games.
- No. 32 Tyrann Mathieu
- No. 6 Marcus Maye
- No. 22 C.J. Gardner-Johnson (nickel)
- No. 48 J.T. Gray
- No. 31 Bryce Thompson
- No. 26 P.J. Williams (dime)
No. 25 Daniel Sorensen, No. 30 Justin Evans, No. 38 Fume Monday (rookie)
Six safeties looks like a lot, but don’t get likewise hung upwardly on it — Gardner-Johnson primarily lines up over the slot as the squad’s nickel dorsum, and Williams is too a top fill-in at corner while splitting time at safe in dime personnel. What matters is that Mathieu and Maye should be every-down defenders once Maye’s break (expected to exist 3 games) is behind them, with Gardner-Johnson and Williams getting plenty of snaps on defense while Gray continues to play at an All-Pro level on special teams. For now, Thompson appears to be ahead of his competition for that last roster spot, just there’south a lot of time left to sort things out.
- No. 23 Marshon Lattimore
- No. 29 Paulson Adebo
- No. 21 Bradley Roby
- No. 27 Alontae Taylor (rookie)
No. 36 Jordan Miller, No. 37 Dylan Mabin, No. 35 Vincent Gray (rookie), No. 39 DaMarcus Fields (rookie)
Again, don’t become hung up on there merely being iv corners in this projection; P.J. Williams is in the mix both here and at safety, and C.J. Gardner-Johnson is going to dominate snaps roofing the slot (which would be going to a true cornerback in a more conventional defense). With Lattimore on top of the depth nautical chart and a training camp competition brewing betwixt Adebo and Taylor, with Roby waiting for either of them to skid up so he can reenter the lineup, this is looking similar a talented group. I’d still await the Saints to keep two or iii corners on the practice squad equally they did final twelvemonth.