After Further Review: Latest Saints 53-man roster projection

After Further Review: Latest Saints 53-man roster projection

(WVUE) - An unexpected break in a very physical training camp provided the perfect opportunity for a Saints' roster projection. Preseason games could shake this up drastically, but as of now here's my view of the 53.

Quarterback (3)

  • Drew Brees
  • Luke McCown
  • Garrett Grayson

Staying with three for the time being. Grayson has had some good practices and some bad ones. He's not ready to unseat McCown, but I think he sticks around as the third stringer for one more season.

Running Back (5)

  • Mark Ingram
  • C.J. Spiller
  • Marcus Murphy
  • Daniel Lasco
  • John Kuhn

Travaris Cadet and Tim Hightower come off this group in my latest projection. Murphy and Lasco both emerged this week with good performances. As long as Austin Johnson is out, I'll have to project Kuhn in the fullback spot. Aside from Ingram and Spiller, this group could change drastically from week to week.

Wide Receiver (5)

  • Brandin Cooks
  • Willie Snead
  • Michael Thomas
  • Brandon Coleman
  • Tommy Lee Lewis

Lewis and RJ Harris are battling for that fifth and final wide receiver spot, though going with five may not be a guarantee. The tiebreaker will be who can contribute the most on special teams. For now, Lewis gets the spot for having a slightly better overall camp than Harris.

Tight End (3)

  • Coby Fleener
  • Josh Hill
  • Michael Hoomanawanui

Fleener ability as a receiver may allow the Saints to keep one less in the WR group. That will be decided as camp and preseason unfolds. Regardless this group stays at three with three veterans.

Offensive Line (8)

  • Terron Amstead
  • Zach Strief
  • Andrus Peat
  • Max Unger
  • Tim Lelito
  • Senio Kelemete
  • Jack Allen
  • Tony Hills

Unless there's movement on the trade front with another team, the top six offensive lineman appear to be pretty set. Behind them, Allen has been the most consistent though I haven't seen him play any other position but center. Usually the Saints like their backup offensive lineman to have versatility at both center and guard. Right now, Hills gets on due to experience but that could change. 

Defensive End (5)

  • Cam Jordan
  • Obum Gwacham
  • Kasim Edebali
  • Davis Tull
  • Bobby Richardson

The edge players are starting to take shape for this defense. Richardson gets the nod over Daryl Tapp for the final spot. In the race for starting weak side end opposite of Jordan, it appears Edebali is in the lead. 

Defensive Tackle (5)

  • Sheldon Rankins
  • Nick Fairley
  • John Jenkins
  • Tyler Davison
  • David Onyemata

While I have my concerns about the speed off the edge of the line, I'm starting to become a believer in the interior of this group. Fairley looks motivated and has been a major disruptor. Rankins has a very diverse skill set in terms of pass rushing moves. Davison has gotten a lot of first team reps, while Onyemata has overcome his slow start to make plays. 

Linebacker (6)

  • James Laurinaitis
  • Stephen Anthony
  • Daniel Ellerbe
  • Nate Stupar
  • Craig Robertson
  • Michael Mauti

This group as a whole feels more active than any other I can recall in the Sean Payton era.  Robertson has been the biggest surprise in terms of his ability in pass coverage. Ellerbe is healthy thus his impact is obvious. Though we haven't talked about him much, quietly, Mauti is having a solid camp. They'll also get plenty of special teams help out of this group. 

Cornerback (5)

  • Delvin Breaux
  • Keenan Lewis
  • P.J. Williams
  • Damian Swann
  • Ken Crawley

If the Saints truly go by what they see then Crawley has to be an option. Three interceptions and several pass break-us have made him impossible to ignore. The question is, can he play special teams? If he can, then he'll beat out Brian Dixon for the final spot.

Safety (5)

  • Jairus Byrd
  • Kenny Vaccaro
  • Roman Harper
  • Erik Harris
  • Vonn Bell

This is a pretty deep group where Vaccaro's versatility will be a huge asset for Dennis Allen. Bell has been very active and confident. Harris looks like another CFL gem. Byrd is finally healthy for a camp, and Harper is doing just enough to stay in the mix.

Specialists (3)

  • Justin Drescher
  • Thomas Morstead
  • Kai Forbath

Forbath has been perfect in field goals; Barth has missed two. It's Forbath's job to lose at this point.

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