After Further Review: Post-preseason Saints roster projection - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

After Further Review: Post-preseason Saints roster projection

Sean Payton will have to trim his roster from 75 to 53 players by Saturday. (Photo by Mark Lagrange) Sean Payton will have to trim his roster from 75 to 53 players by Saturday. (Photo by Mark Lagrange)
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In years past, my roster projection would entail putting every player that I thought deserved to make the team on a board, add up the numbers and shed a few names to get to the desired 53. However, after listing all the names on this projection, I still had a few holes to fill. That’s a first for me. I’m not sure what that says about the overall quality of the Saints roster. 

Either way, one thing I’m certain of is the final 53 roster Saturday will look different on Tuesday once the Saints look to add other players from other teams. 

Quarterback (3)

Drew Brees

Luke McCown

Garrett Grayson

There’s no sense in parting ways with Grayson when his spot won’t prevent the Saints from keeping another quality body at another position. I thought he played decent in the preseason finale, though it is a little frustrating that he hasn’t been able to beat out McCown.

Running Back (6)

Mark Ingram 

C.J. Spiller

Marcus Murphy

Daniel Lasco

Tim Hightower

John Kuhn

The deepest group on the roster and for the first time I’m keeping an extra player to the group. That player is Tim Hightower. Murphy’s value as a returner is too high especially with the new rule this year. Kuhn has gotten most of the first team work at fullback.

Wide Receiver (5)

Brandin Cooks

Willie Snead

Michael Thomas

Brandon Coleman

Tommy Lee Lewis

Even with Coleman’s tough night a few weeks ago, he makes the roster. This group has remained the same in my last two projections.

Tight End (3)

Coby Fleener

Josh Hill

Michael Hoomanawanui

Hooman’s injury is tricky. If he ends up on short term injured reserve then Chris Manhertz is the next man up. Until that happens, I’m sticking with these three. 

Offensive Line (7)

Terron Amstead 

Zach Strief

Andrus Peat

Max Unger

Tim Lelito

Senio Kelemete

Khalif Barnes

This group is aching for another quality player. It sorely lacks serious depth. Barnes is on for now because but not a guarantee. I expect the Saints to keep scanning for a quality interior lineman. 

Defensive End (5)

Cam Jordan

Obum Gwacham

Kasim Edebali

Paul Kruger

Bobby Richardson

Richardson over newly signed Chris McCain. That could certainly be flip-flopped given that the Saints gave up a conditional seventh round pick for him. I’ve seen more of Richardson; his versatility is an asset.

Defensive Tackle (5)

Sheldon Rankins

Nick Fairley

John Jenkins

Tyeler Davison

David Onyemata

I don’t think Rankins ends up on short term IR. Thus, the Saints roll the dice and hold his spot. When healthy, this is a position of strength for the Saints.

Linebacker (6)

James Laurinaitis

Stephone Anthony

Daniel Ellerbe 

Nate Stupar

Craig Robertson 

Michael Mauti

This group has been set for quite some time. 

Cornerback (5)

Delvin Breaux

P.J. Williams

De’Vante Harris

Cortland Finnegan

Brian Dixon

Brian Dixon on Ken Crawley for the fifth cornerback spot. Crawley struggled Thursday and could be on the practice squad. Dixon is the Saints best gunner. Thus, he survives though this is another area where the Saints could be scanning other teams’ rosters. 

Safety (5)

Jairus Byrd

Kenny Vaccaro

Roman Harper

Erik Harris

Vonn Bell

Solid group with a good mix of athleticism of veteran leadership.

Specialists (3)

Justin Drescher

Thomas Morstead 

Conner Barth

Toughest cut of camp is at kicker. I’m sticking with Barth because he seems to have a more powerful leg.  

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