NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Ten practices in, the Saints roster is starting to take shape. The preseason games will certainly add a new layer to the evaluation. But through what we’ve seen thus far, this is how I see the Saints 53.
The best quarterback room of the Sean Payton era. Brees is as dialed in as ever, while Bridgewater is the best backup quarterback in the game. Hill will once again be the swiss army knife.
Running back (4)
The Saints are clearly looking into their third running back spot. They visited with Theo Roddick, they signed and waived Rob Kelley then brought in Jacquizz Rodgers. Still, as of now I have Washington as the third back based solely on experience.
Wide Receiver (6)
Ted Ginn, Jr.
Tre’ Quan Smith
Undoubtedly, the toughest projection on the team. Kirkwood, Cobbs and Carr are not guaranteed but for this list n they’re in. Emmanuel Butler was the star of camp for week one but his injury has him on the outside looking in right now. If he picks up where he left off, then I think he makes his way on, but if his injury lingers he essentially becomes expendable. Same goes for Kirkwood. Rishard Matthews has also heated up the last few practices.
Tight End (3)
My original projection had Arnold off but he’s put together some solid work the last few days with Alize Mack out. Like Butler, if Mack returns to his previous form when he regains his health, then I think he can work his way into the third tight end spot. Until then, Arnold gets the nod.
Offensive Line (9)
The biggest vulnerability on this current Saints roster is backup tackle. It’s the one position where history has shown they will need one for more than one game. None of the backups have been impressive through ten practices.
Nine offensive linemen may be a lot, but when I did my roster projection I had one final spot open and gave it to Clapp. He is one of the best eight linemen, but he doesn’t play tackle which makes him vulnerable.
Defensive End (4)
Horton has been the most consistent of the backup defensive end players. Vince Beigel has also gotten work here as well and could play a role in the final numbers.
Defensive Tackle (4)
If Rankins starts season on PUP this group looks like this to start. Ziggy Hood and Sylvester Williams have also flashed during camp and may work their way on.
A consistent and perhaps underrated position on the Saints team. This group has solid versatility and special teams contributions.
Sherels and Hardee are special teams stalwarts, while CJ Gardner-Johnson has played mostly nickel, though he is listed as a safety. This group is pretty clear cut to this point.
CJ Gardner Johnson
Call me crazy, but I think the production of Hampton has surprised the Saints coaching staff. They thought they were getting a special teams contributor but have stumbled upon a ballhawking free safety.