(WVUE) - The Saints countdown is done ranking newcomers after six were unveiled in the first ten on our list. Four of the five players on this portion of the list are still working under the contracts they originally came into the league with:
#10 - Defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins' role became a lot more important with the season-ending injury to Nick Fairley. The former first round pick was drafted to have the kind of season that Fairley had last year.
He showed glimpses of that in 2016 with four sacks in eight games. Now he's healthy and will be counted on to be a force along the Saints defensive line. If he's able to do so, it will soften the blow from the loss of Fairley.
#9 - Safety Kenny Vaccaro has been used all over the field since he's been with the Saints. A hybrid safety/linebacker/nickel corner, Vaccaro was having his best season as a pro in 2016 until a suspension sidelined him for the final four games of the season.
2017 will be an interesting campaign for Vaccaro, who is entering the fifth and final season of his rookie deal, which means it's a contract year for him.
A big season could mean big dollars, which could mean big things ahead for him and the Saints defense.
#8 - Wide receiver Willie Snead has had quite the journey, going from practice squad unknown to one of Drew Brees' most trusted weapons.
In two seasons, he's amassed 141 receptions, nearly 1,900 yards and seven touchdowns. Those numbers should remain steady in 2017, which just so happens to be a contract year.
For the past two seasons, Snead has given the Saints plenty of bang for the buck. If he does it again this year, then his bucks could get bigger.
#7 - While no one was paying attention, Mark Ingram quietly became one of the better backs in the NFL.
2016 was his best season to date as he surpassed 1,000 yards for the first time in his career, the first Saints back to do so since Deuce McAllister back in 2006. He also averaged a career high 5.1 yards per carry and added 46 catches.
Even with the addition of Adrian Peterson, Ingram will still be option number one out of the Saints backfield.
#6 - After a breakout 2015 debut, 2016 was a tough season for Delvin Breaux. He only played in six games after breaking his fibula and was never quite right when he returned. Ultimately, a shoulder injury forced him to end the season on Injured Reserve.
However, 2017 is a new year and during the offseason, Breaux looked like his old self. He is without a question, the team's number one cornerback and will be expected to play like it this season.