After Further Review: Updated Saints' final 53 projections - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

After Further Review: Updated Saints' final 53 projections

Updated:

With the Saints' preseason now complete, the coaches have until Saturday to get their right 53.

In my latest projections, there is really only one change, based on the only player in my opinion that took advantage of their opportunity in the fourth and final preseason game.

Quarterback: 2 

Drew Brees, Luke McCown

Analysis: No brainer here. McCown has been impressive all preseason. Griffin is a player the Saints like but will likely need a year on the practice squad before he is ready.

Running Back: 4

Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles, Travarris Cadet

Analysis:  I came awfully close to just keeping three running backs but recent history suggests otherwise. I kept Cadet over Khiry Robinson because of his ability in special teams. Robinson would seem like a logical practice squad candidate. For him to overtake Cadet, he needed a 'wow' moment. He had an abundance of opportunities in the preseason finale, but never made a game-changing play.

Wide Receiver: 6

Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Kenny Stills, Nick Toon, Andy Tanner, Preston Parker

Analysis: By far the toughest decision. I kept six and left off Courtney Roby. I can only go by what my eyes tell me and through this preseason Tanner and Parker have earned their way onto the roster. I understand Roby plays special teams but the ultimate determinant for me was Roby was on the field during the 52-yard punt return last week that was called back. In fact, he was the player who was pushed in the back.  But as I watched the tape of that play, I'm convinced Roby got bailed out and would not have made that tackle even without the penalty. Thus, I'm leaving him off. Plus, Parker can return kicks.

Tight End: 3

Jimmy Graham, Ben Watson, Michael Higgins

Analysis: No real secrets here. This trio has been solid all preseason.

Fullback: 1

Jed Collins

Analysis: I've often said that the one player that has really played well but has no shot at making the team was Austin Johnson. I really like his game and think he can play in the league, but this is Collins' job and I don't see the Saints keeping two fullbacks.

Offensive Line: 9

Charles Brown, Ben Grubbs, Brian De La Puente, Jahri Evans, Zach Strief, Bryce Harris, Tim Lelito, Andrew Tiller, Terron Armstead

Analysis:  I kept nine because of the injury history at certain positions along the line. Harris has been one of the highest graded tackles in theNFL during the  preseason. Lelito broke on to the scene last week with a solid effort against Houston with the first team.

Defensive Ends: 4

Cam Jordan, Akiem Hicks, Glenn Foster, Tyrunn Walker

Analysis: The best thing to come out of this preseason has been the excellent play at this position. Jordan looks poised for a Pro Bowl year, Hicks isn't too far behind. Foster is the undrafted gem they seem to discover every year and I love the athleticism of Walker.

Defensive Tackle: 2
Broderick Bunkley, John Jenkins

Analysis: I only kept two because of the versatility of Hicks.

Linebacker: 10

Outside: Junior Galette, Parys Haralson, Martez Wilson, Rufus Johnson, Jay Richardson
Inside: Curtis Lofton, Ramon Humber, David Hawthorne, Kevin Reddick, Jonathan Vilma

Analysis: Jay Richardson is the only player who took advantage of the preseason finale. His veteran presence and production are impossible to ignore. Thus he is on the final 53. One asterisk to this group is the health of Vilma. If he is healthy, I think the Saints keep him around. If he's not, then his spot may go to another position or a guy like Will Herring. This number may be a little high for this position group but given the current injury situation, I stayed with ten.

Cornerbacks: 4

Keenan Lewis, Jabari Greer, Patrick Robinson, Corey White

Analysis: With the addition of Richardson, I parted ways with Chris Carr. With the versatility of their safeties, the Saints can get by with corners especially since they are banged up at linebacker. Rod Sweeting seems like a likely practice squad player.

Safety: 5

Malcolm Jenkins, Roman Harper, Kenny Vaccaro, Rafael Bush, Jim Leonhard

Analysis: As I've observed the Rob Ryan defense over the last few weeks I've realized just how diverse he needs his safeties to be. That's why I'm keeping five on the roster. Vaccaro and Jenkins can play nickel while Harper can be a blitzing safety-type. I kept Leonhard because of his knowledge of the system and get the sense the coaches like his influence in the meeting rooms.

Specialists (3)
Punter: Thomas Morstead
Kicker: Garrett Hartley
Long Snapper: Justin Drescher

Analysis: No surprises here.

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