After Further Review: Saints final 53 roster projection

So here it is. My best guess at the Saints final 53-man roster. I'll end it by saying, I'm glad I don't have to make these decisions for a living. It is very tough to decide.

Quarterback (3)

Drew Brees

Luke McCown

Ryan Griffin

I'm now convinced the Saints are keeping three. Not only that, McCown officially won the preseason on Thursday. Until that game, it was at the very least a toss up or Griffin slightly in the lead in the competition. McCown is more efficient. Griffin still has some kinks to work out but his potential is there. I think he stays.

Wide Receiver (6)

Marques Colston

Kenny Stills

Brandin Cooks

Nick Toon

Joe Morgan

Robert Meachem

I'm sticking with six though I wish that were not the case. The Stills' injury leaves them too thin.A very  realistic alternative could be releasing Meachem for week one, then bringing him back after to avoid guaranteeing his salary.

Running Backs (4)

Pierre Thomas

Mark Ingram

Khiry Robinson

Travaris Cadet

No change here. These four players will be on the roster.

Tight End (3)

Jimmy Graham

Ben Watson

Josh Hill

Easy call here. Hill has had an outstanding training camp/preseason.

Fullback (1)

Austin Johnson.

Still no sign of Erik Lorig and with Greg Jones reportedly already gone, Johnson is the guy at fullback.

Center (2)

Tim Lelito

Jonathan Goodwin

Goodwin appears to be the starter but both will be around.

Guard (3)

Jahri Evans

Ben Grubbs

Senio Kelemete

I'm still sticking with Kelemete here though Marcel Jones made it an interesting battle.

Tackle (3)

Terron Armstead

Zach Strief

Bryce Harris

No change here.

Defensive End (4)

Cam Jordan

Akiem Hicks

Glenn Foster

Tyrunn Walker

Defensive Tackle (2)

Broderick Bunkley

John Jenkins

Brandon Deaderick is so close but with injuries elsewhere, I decided to keep him off.

Outside Linebacker (4)

Junior Galette

Parys Haralson

Keyunta Dawson

Ronald Powell

Ronald Powell or Kasim Edebali? That is the question. I've gone back and forth with this and ultimately stuck with Powell. Powell didn't outplay Edebali. In fact, Edebali may have flashed a little more. Just call it a gut feeling.

Remember, this also projects Khairri Fortt going to IR.

Inside Linebacker (4)

Curtis Lofton

David Hawthorne

Ramon Humber

Kyle Knox

I feel like I'm flirting with disaster by only having eight total linebackers on the roster. But with needs at other places and the way this defense is run, this seems like the one position that can withstand the lower numbers.

Cornerback (5)

Keenan Lewis

Patrick Robinson

Champ Bailey

Stanley Jean-Baptiste

Corey White

Don't freak out over Robinson's bad night. I still think this group will be much improved in 2014.

Safety (6)

Kenny Vaccaro

Jairus Byrd

Rafael Bush

Vinnie Sunseri

Marcus Ball

Pierre Warren

The mystery surrounding Marcus Ball has added new intrigue to the safety position. Combine that with Rob Ryan's love of safeties and I have Warren as the lone undrafted free agent making the final roster.

Specialists (3)

Thomas Morstead (P)

Shayne Graham (K)

Justin Drescher (LS)

I'm going to guess that Thursday was Dimke's resume' tape to the rest of the league, but I could be totally wrong. By the slimmest of margins, I'm going with Graham as the Saints kicker.